The Copenhagen Opera House, Denmark

The Copenhagen Opera House, Denmark, has received the 2008 IABSE Outstanding Structure Award for being 'a spectacular slender cantilevered roof structure utilising steel bridge deck technology to minimise deflections and innovative framing details to control thermal differentials'.  On September 17, 2008, at the Opening of the Congress 2008 in Chicago, Jacques Combault presented the Diplomas to the Structural Engineer, Ramboll Denmark; the Architect, Henning Larsen Architects, Denmark; the Contractor E. Pihl & Søn; the Owner, The Royal Theatre and the Donor the A.P. MØller and Chastine McKinney Foundation.

The Copenhagen Opera House is a landmark structure with a unique location on the Copenhagen waterfront, uniquely situated opposite to the residence of the Royal family in Copenhagen, at a slight bend of the harbour.

The Opera House opened with its first performance on January 15, 2005. It was built in only four years, including all design and construction work. The Opera House has a total area of 41 000m2. It comprises one main auditorium for 1500 people, a foyer, the stage plus five side and rear stages, one small stage for 200 people, six major rehearsal rooms, individual rehearsal rooms, dressing rooms, offices, workshops, a canteen, archives and stores, plus technical plant rooms.

An innovative design was developed for the roof to ensure the necessary strength, stability and dynamic response, whilst at the same time appearing light and slender. The main construction idea for the canopy roof structure is taken directly from modern steel bridge design. The roof is one of the largest canopy roof structures in the world, with horizontal dimensions of 158m by 90m, corresponding to the area of three soccer fields. The maximum cantilever length is 43m from the corner foyer column to the outer roof corner. With a maximum depth of only 3m, adequate strength, stiffness and dynamic response is ensured by using a hollow box girder as the primary structural element.