The Sydney Opera House is Australia’s most identified structure and is picturesque and aesthetic in an iconic way. It was completed in 1973 on Bennelong Point surrounded with a beautiful harbor setting. The design of this building with souring shell shaped white sails on top of a gigantic red granite platform, made a statement and is now known as an “architectural icon of the 20th century. ”(Powerhouse 2014) This dominant masterpiece can be seen and experienced from all sides.
Viewed by a boat, from an airplane, or by foot, the vision is substantial and not to be forgotten. It was built between 1957 and 1973. It took 16 years to construct this internationally acclaimed modern marvel. (Time Magazine 2013) The Genius behind this exceptional design is the Pritzer Prize winner Danish architect Jorn Utzon. The opera house contains nearly 1000 rooms, which includes the five main concert halls. The buildings dimensions are estimated at 185m long and 120m wide at its widest point.Order now
The roofs are made into 21914 pre-cast concrete sections, each section is covered with exactly 1,056,056 Swedish ceramic tiles. The tallest point is measured at 67m above sea level. The entire structure weighs over 161,000 tons. (Utzon, Design 2002) This masterpiece is nothing short of revolutionary. Utzon took risks and challenged his self with a geometrical design. The construction of the historical white sails took on their own four years to solve. (Utzon, Design 2002)
Utzon used an organic idea to base his design around using pastoral colors on the exterior and using a leaf form pattern which he carefully thought up for the ceramic shell roofs. The reason the iconic shells were created white was to create contrast to the red-granite, concrete platform. The same materials were used for the flagstone on the shoreline paved walkway, which encircles the structure. (Uneseco, 1992-20015) Inside the structure housed all the performance facilities.
Utzon incorporated a Mayan influence to this structure, which he was influenced by an excursions through Mayan ruins in Mexico. (Duek-Cohen 1998) The plateau of the Opera House has a 100 meter wide staircase that gives onlookers the impression they are in another world, freeing them from the stresses of daily life. “The sun did not know how beautiful its light was, until it was reflected off this building,” – Louis Kahn (Principles 2002) the interior of the Opera House was said to by Utzon “To put the people into a festive mood, and take them out of their daily lives. – Jorn Utzon It differs completely from the exterior.
Where the exterior is all natural, bland colors, the inferior is bright joyful, yellows, reds, and oranges. He took some ideas from Chinese and Buddhist are and temples. In the main, concert, and opera halls there are murals and designs by well-known artist; John Olsen’s “Five Bells” and Michael Nelson Jagamara’s “Possum Dreaming,” to name just a few (Powerhouse 2014) Utzon was an architectural genius, but he also took a lot of scrutinizing from the Australian government.
So when he won the Peritzer Prize for his work on the Opera House it was a very surreal moment. “Utzon made a building well ahead of his time, far ahead of available technologies, and he persevered though malicious criticisms to a building that changed the image of an entire country. It is the first time in our lifetime that such an epic piece of architecture gained such universal presence. ” – Frank Gehry (Jorn Utzon 2003) This quote from a fellow college shows how prestige Utzon was held by not only his colleges, but the entire world.
Today, more than being a world-class performing arts center, the Opera House represents Sydney and even the whole nation the same way as the Eiffel tower represents Paris. (Sydney Opera House 2015) It’s known not only for its outstanding architecture, but also for exceptional engineering and technological innovation. However, there are still complaints from some parties on the acoustical properties as well as on the inadequacy of support spaces (UNESCO, 2009). The problems were fixed in 2004 towards the correction of the acoustics, but the hall still may undergo changes in the future.
Utzon created a set of design principles in 1999 that guide how changes are to be implemented to the structure. Since he had so many fall outs with the government, Utzon was never to return to Australia, never to see the final result of his work. It is a solemn ending to such an inspiring and life-changing structure in the world, but he did gain the most renowned architectural prize in the world, the Prizter Prize. On November 29th, 2008, Utzon passed away at 90 years of age. To him we owe thanks to changing the architectural boundaries forever (Australian Heritage 2003).
Australian Heritage Database, Sydney Opera House 2003
Duek-Cohen, Elias. Utzon and the Sydney Opera House, Morgan Publiations 1998
“Model of Sydney Opera House” Powerhouse museum –collection database May 6, 2014
Outstanding Universal value. Web. Uneseco World Heritage center 2015
“Sydney Opera House History” Web. Sydney Opera house Official Site
Sydney Opera House, Utzon Design priciples, May 2002.
“World Landmarks Go Dark in Honor of Earth Hour” Time Magazine Jan.28, 2013