MILOS At Prize Nominated Opera House

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The MILOS MR2 roof system proved it's true lateral dynamics and flexibility during the 2 year build of the stunning new Norwegian Opera & Ballet building in Oslo, which opened last year to massive aesthetic acclaim for architects Snøhetta.

The elegant, contemporary Opera House which covers the area of 4 football pitches, is hailed as one of the most complex buildings in the world, and is one of 5 final nominations for the prestigious 2009 European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – the Mies van der Rohe Award. The winner will be announced in May.

The Prize is a joint initiative of the European Commission and the Fundació Mies van der Rohe, and is awarded biennially to works completed within the previous two years, produced in countries covered by the Culture 2000 programme. The principal objectives are to recognise and commend excellence in the field of architecture, and to draw attention to the important contribution of European professionals in the development of new ideas and technologies.

During the construction period, it was essential to keep on schedule, and so the work on the roof – which is covered in over 3000 tonnes of marble – had to continue throughout the extremely tough Norwegian winter.

Kurt ødemark of Norwegian stone specialists Naturstein, the company responsible for completing the marble work, took the decision to use a complete portable roofing system to provide cover for their workers in the snow, bitter winds and regular temperatures of minus 10 to 20. He chose a MILOS MR2 system.

An 8 metre by 12 metre complete MR2 roof, with height capabilities of up to 6 metres was supplied by MILOS direct to Naturstein.

Used in this unusual situation, the MR2 was effectively transformed into a giant tool for the stonemasons as they worked. The structure itself was utilised as an industrial crane, with i-Beams hung below its main gantry and fitted to movable lifting hoists that shifted the slabs of marble around to where they were needed.

This produced additional dynamic loading forces not normally encountered when the roof is in use for basic entertainment environments, and so required special custom changes and a redesigned trussing grid in the roof, plus multicubes (super strong corner blocks) and reinforced side braces.

There were numerous additional challenges involved in the operation!

The first was that the structure was subject to extra wind forces because it was completely covered on all four sides by a heavyweight canopy - to retain heat for those working inside.

Another was the 12 degree sloping angle of the opera house roof … on top of which the MR2 had to sit – and be stable and safe.

Each time one section of roof marble was completed, a crane was brought in to pick up the MR2 and move it to the next required position. This operation took just 45 minutes, an exercise that proved a smart and time-effective way of moving a large and unconventional working device around the Opera House's evolving roof.

ødemark had not used MILOS products before. He looked at a couple of other known truss producers before reaching a decision, which happened the moment he had visited the MILOS manufacturing facility near Prague. Says MILOS' project manager Michal Zykan, “He was very impressed with our products, our methods of processing and work organization, as well as the engineering skills that go into the MILOS brand. Last but not least was the fact that we can easily customize any elements and tailor them to a specific project”.

Zykan concludes, “We were very excited to be involved in something as prestigious and – for our products - different as this. Once again it proves that MILOS' highly versatile products can be used practically and imaginatively in many environments”.

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