Royal Opera House

  • Sensitive refurbishment of historic buildings and new build on a constricted site.
  • Multi award-winning project, including the Civic Trust Award, RIBA Award for Architecture and Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors Conservation Award.

London’s Royal Opera House has been a beacon for world-class performing arts for over 150 years. To maintain this reputation, the grade I-listed building was redeveloped in the 1990s to create ‘a machine for producing opera’.

The £214m transformation delivered increased seating and performance capacity; improved acoustics and sight lines, theatrical lighting, public access and comfort; and allowed more efficient scenery handling.

Arup was involved throughout the redevelopment, providing design services including structural, mechanical, electrical, geotechnicalpublic health and façade engineering, acoustic designlighting and fire safety design, transport planning and controls, commissioning and testing.

The redevelopment involved complete renovation of the main 2270-seat 1858 Auditorium and the Floral Hall, and reconstruction of the 44m fly tower and stage area.

A 400-seat Linbury Studio Theatre and a ‘village’ of connected rehearsal spaces, offices, shops and restaurants was added, transforming the venue into one of the best-equipped theatres in the world.


  • Exterior of Royal Opera House. Credit Graham Young.Open gallery

    The glazing of the Floral Hall was designed for low heat, but high light transmission.

  • Royal Opera House, main auditorium. Credit Graham Young.Open gallery

    To light the stalls in the main auditorium, recessed mains voltage luminaires were selected.