Opera House Glyndebourne

Hopkins Architects, East Sussex , 1994


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North elevation and existing buildings 

Morley von Sternberg     Download Original

  • North elevation and existing buildings    
  • New opera house and existing buildings     
  • Stage entrance    
  • Audience gathers on external terrace and balconies    
  • Scenery respray with opera house in the background    
  • Brick facade and fabric canopy    
  • Car park and south elevation    
  • Auditorium    
  • Audience fill the auditorium prior to a performance    
  • Orchestra pit inside auditorium    
  • New enlarged stage    
  • Female chorus changing area    
  • Wardrobe department    
  • Education office    
  • Dressing room    
  • Dressers await the second half in the back stage corridor    
  • Costume department located in outbuilding    
  • Clearing up the morning after    
  • Site plan    
  • Ground floor plan    
  • Elevation    
  • Isometric of brick arch on elevation    
  • Typical bay elevation    

A brick opera house comprising a 1,200 seat auditorium, workshops, dressing rooms, studios, restaurant, bar and offices connected to an existing Edwardian house in the Sussex countryside

Glyndebourne occupies the same site as the old opera house, but has been rotated by 180 degrees so that the front of house areas now lead naturally onto the gardens. This re-orientation disguises the bulk of the new building by digging it ten metres into the slope of the site.

The large inter-dependent and windowless volume of the 1,200 seat auditorium, the fly tower, stage, side stages and back stage with their fixed relationships, are placed in the centre of the building. The foyers and back-up spaces - dressing rooms, the green room, studios, offices and workshops are wrapped around the building on three levels, giving views out to the gardens and scale and proportion to the facade.

The auditorium has a traditional, intimate horseshoe form and is lined in pitch pine. The shapes of the auditorium interior are acoustically proscribed.

Glyndebourne combines traditional load bearing brick walls, which match the adjacent house, with highly finished pre-cast concrete ceiling panels. The roof and fly tower are clad in lead panels. An elegant fabric canopy shelters the foyer.


  • Begun: 1991
  • Completed: May 1994
  • Floor area: 12,000m2
  • Sector: Arts and culture
  • Total cost: £30M
  • Address: Glyndebourne , Lewes, East Sussex , BN8 5UU, United Kingdom

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