Cardiff Bay Opera House

Cardiff, Wales

Cardiff Bay Opera House, Auditorium Interior (1995) depicts the layout of the stage, seating areas and orchestra pit, including the audience and performers using the space, for Zaha Hadid’s competition entry to design the Cardiff Bay Opera House in Wales, UK. Throughout the competition and design process, Hadid came under demands to produce aesthetically pleasing and legible representations of her design appropriate for the general public and the mainstream press. The painting’s more conventional use of perspective, inclusion of people and of bright and playful colours can be understood in light of this, which helped the project gain wider support. 

The auditorium within the Cardiff Bay Opera House needed to provide enough acoustic range to be able to stage musical theatre and opera. This was achieved through the design’s use of moving walls that would affect sound in the space, rendered in yellow ochre in the painting. In spite of Hadid’s adaptations and cooperation throughout the project’s development, it ultimately lost out on funding from the Millennium Commission and was never built.