London architects DRDH have won the competition to restore and modernise Opera Ghent. Home to Opera Ballet Vlaanderen, the building dates back to 1840.
The project has a budget of €70m, with a competition date in 2026. DRDH’s plan will add a new performance venue and restore its three existing ballrooms. Further, it will expand back of house office space, improve the backstage facilities, and increase the amount of space open to the public.
“The project restores its historic ballrooms, updates the auditoria, creates new backstage facilities and opens up the site as a contemporary cultural space for the city,” said DRDH co-founder Daniel Rosbottom in a post on Twitter.
“The project opens up the urban block as a permeable public space, creating a new courtyard and external routes through the site. A new stair hall forms a central point of circulation to new and existing auditoria and a tower of large rooms houses large new elements of programme.”
It is the second major building DRDH has worked on in Ghent, having previously restored the Bijloke Concert Hall – a project that was completed in 2017. Its plans beat off competition from Bennetts Associates, OMA, Kempe Thill and Happel Cornelisse Verhoeven.