When the Seattle Opera Center’s walls were erected, barriers fell. The 105,000 square feet civic home of the Seattle Opera opened in December of 2018 with the goal of increasing public engagement. The design provides a behind-the-scenes glimpse
into the inner workings of opera.
The $60 million Seattle Opera Center is a show unto itself. The public can peer through windows to watch the costuming department at work and performers rehearsing scenes from innovative new productions and some of the most popular operas in history.
Nearly 20 percent of the Seattle Opera Center is dedicated to education. While performances still take place next door at McCaw Hall, the new headquarters has space for community events and children’s activities.
“This will be a way to really help the general public to see the opera in the making,” said Barbara Lynne Jamison, Seattle Opera’s Director of Programs and Partnerships.
With the future of opera in mind, the Seattle Opera Center has a nod to the past in the design of a performance space – reclaimed wood from the Mercer Arena – the venue it replaced.
However, insulated metal panels play a starring role in a building that appears to be mostly glass. Designed by NBBJ architects, the Seattle Opera headquarters incorporates more than 44,000 square
feet of Kingspan KarrierPanels to create a modern looking, high-performing building envelope.
The system features KarrierRail to safely transmit loads to structural supports, hidden behind the metal panel. Much like the stage crew of an opera production, the system comes together quickly and efficiently to create the final product. When equipped
with Kingspan’s cutting-edge QuadCore insulation foam core technology, the KarrierPanels reach an R-value of 7.2 per inch
ASTM C518 @ 75°F for standard PIR, and 8 per inch ASTM C518 @ 75°F.
The KarrierPanels’ high thermal performance, combined with airtightness, serve as a rainscreen for a variety of cladding in a city known for averaging 34.1 inches of rain per year. In addition, architects created a raingarden to catch runoff in
an environmentally friendly way. Most of the materials chosen for the inside have low or zero volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
"Our new building is beautiful, magical, welcoming, larger-than-life, and world-class—just like what Seattle Opera aspires to be," said Dominica Myers, Associate Director of Administration just days before the grand opening.