Hanoi Opera House. Credit Renzo Piano Building Workshop; Hanoi Opera House. Credit Renzo Piano Building Workshop;

Hanoi Opera House, Hanoi

Creating a new cultural icon for Vietnam

Located on the shores of West Lake, Hanoi, the new Hanoi Opera House will be one of Vietnam’s most significant performance venues in 100 years.

The new multi-venue complex will integrate performance, rehearsal and creative spaces under one of the largest concrete shell roof structures in the world, creating a building that is destined to become a cultural and social landmark in Hanoi.

Designed in collaboration with Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW), PTW Architects and Theatre Projects, the venue will host a diverse range of artistic experiences across a variety of flexible spaces, including a 1,800-seat concert theatre and a 500-seat multipurpose theatre. The venue will also become home to Vietnam’s first private symphony orchestra.

Our expertise has helped realise the developer’s ambition to leverage the power of the performing and visual arts by creating social environments that enhance, incubate and promote the spirit and expression of a new Vietnam.

Project Summary

1,800seat concert theatre

500seatmultipurpose theatre

1of the world's largest concrete shell roof structures

Designing for cultural sustainability

Community and occupant needs were central to our design approach from the outset. As part of the design process, our acoustics team undertook research into the cultural, social, and historical threads that help create memorable experiences for the venue's expected demographic and wider community. The outcomes informed our acoustic design concepts to ensure the venue becomes a cultural destination in the city.

Image © Renzo Piano Building Workshop

Drawing on the resources of our global offices and the skills of some of the world’s best acoustic specialists, we recognised that the optimal acoustic environments vary significantly for different types of performances. Our design focused on embedding features that promote adaptability into the architectural concept.

Minimising background noise across all performance, rehearsal and practice spaces was also a key design driver to improve the quality of the occupant experience. These design features allow the venue to operate multiple performances simultaneously without disturbance.

The venue’s rehearsal village features similar adjustable elements that enable it to meet the diverse needs of the local arts community, providing the next generation of creatives with a flexible platform to create new artistic experiences.

© Renzo Piano Building Workshop

Inspired by nature

The carefully designed internal structure of the Hanoi Opera House is housed underneath a striking vaulted roof that acts as the centrepiece for the new building. Supported at only four points and separated from the internal structure, it blends harmoniously with the surrounding area’s history and culture, drawing inspiration from oyster shells, which were once harvested in West Lake.

The pearlescent finish of the glazed tile cladding reflects solar radiation, which helps to regulate temperature and reduce energy consumption. Rigorous testing has been carried out and will continue to be implemented in subsequent stages to ensure the roof combines the best sustainability and resilience aspects in its design.

Digital design

In one of the first instances in Vietnam where digital approaches to design had been introduced, we developed an advanced algorithm with RPBW to create the form of the roof. This bespoke digital tool enabled us to optimise the design, striking the balance between structural integrity and tight geometrical restrictions. The improved design minimised material usage, which significantly reduced costs and embodied carbon.

Using a state-of-the-art computer simulation, we were able to determine the possible impact of an earthquake on the structural integrity of the shell roof. A physical wind tunnel test supported the simulation by detailing the wind flow around the geometrically complex shell and the effects on the building’s ventilation system and surrounding piazza, providing confidence in the design.

Venue major shell mode Venue major shell mode
Model illustrating the potential impact of an earthquake on the structure.

A new cultural landmark

Due for completion in 2025, the Hanoi Opera House will become the next generation of cultural venues to adopt a unique design approach to meet future expectations, placing it firmly alongside iconic structures such as the Sydney Opera House and the recently completed Taichung Opera House.