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Sydney Opera House

Address: Sydney Opera House Sydney NSW 2000
Phone: 02 9250 7111

Tags: cafe, bistro, souvenirs, restaurants, byo, drama, opera, ballet, australian, opera, contemporary, classical, icon

Of all the buildings in Australia, one would be expected to know the Sydney Opera House; one of the Australia’s most popular and most photographed structure equivalent to that of the Eiffel Tower or the Empire State Building. It is the main structure which represents the country like the pyramids of Egypt or the Colosseum in Rome though it has been open on 1973.

The Sydney Opera House has a dramatic, majestic, and unforgettable view either seen on air or through a ferry. The Sydney Opera House has views of the harbour’s blue waters and the Sydney Harbour Bridge on its horizon.

This well-known icon was designed by Jorn Utzon, a popular Danish architect. The Sydney Opera House’s roof design is reminiscent of a ship at full sail. The NSW Government started an appeal fund in the late 1950s to support the Sydney Opera House construction so they had a contest for people to send designs. The design made by Utzon was chosen but during that era, engineering wasn’t as good as it is now. It was just beyond their capabilities that time that it took two years for Utzon to rework the design.

The problem on the unique design of the sails on the roof was finally solved in 1961. The project however went through cost blow-outs that the NSW Government almost stopped the construction. In 1966, Utzon resigned from the project due to some controversies, criticism and a change of government. The Opera House was then completed by Peter Hall, Lionel Todd, David Littlemore and Ted Farmer, an NSW Government Architect and was opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1973.

In June 2007, the Sydney Opera House was included in the World Heritage List. UNESCO said, “Sydney Opera House is a great architectural work of the 20th century. It represents multiple strands of creativity, both in architectural form and structural design, a great urban sculpture carefully set in a remarkable waterscape and a world famous iconic building.”

Sydney Opera House must be one of the most recognisable images of the modern world - up there with the Eiffel Tower and the Empire State Building - and one of the most photographed.

Not only is it recognisable, it has come to represent 'Australia'. Although only having been open since 1973, it is as representative of Australia as the pyramids are of Egypt and the Colosseum of Rome.

The Opera House is situated on Bennelong Point, which reaches out into the harbour. The skyline of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the blue water of the harbour and the Sydney Opera House, viewed from a ferry or from the air, is dramatic and unforgettable.

Ironic, perhaps, that this Australian icon - the Opera House with a roof evocative of a ship at full sail - was designed by renowned Danish architect - Jorn Utzon (1918–2008).

In the late 1950s the New South Wales (NSW) Government established an appeal fund to finance the construction of the Sydney Opera House, and conducted a competition for its design.

Utzon's design was chosen. The irony was that his design was, arguably, beyond the capabilities of engineering of the time. Utzon spent a couple of years reworking the design and it was 1961 before he had solved the problem of how to build the distinguishing feature - the 'sails' of the roof.

The venture experienced cost blow-outs and there were occasions when the NSW Government was tempted to call a halt. In 1966 the situation - with arguments about cost and the interior design, and the Government withholding progress payments - reached crisis point and Jorn Utzon resigned from the project. The building was eventually completed by others in 1973. After more than 30 years, the Sydney Opera House has its first interior designed by Utzon. The Utzon Room, a transformed reception hall that brings to life Jorn Utzon's original vision for his masterpiece, was officially opened on September 16 2004.

The Sydney Opera House was included in the National Heritage List in 2005, and inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2007.

The Sydney Opera house:

* Was designed by Danish architect Jorn Utzon

* Was opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 20 October 1973

* Presented, as its first performance, The Australian Opera's production of War and Peace by Prokofiev

* Cost $AU 102,000,000 to build

* Conducts 3000 events each year

* Provides guided tours to 200,000 people each year

* Has an annual audience of 2 million for its performances

* Includes 1000 rooms

* Is 185 metres long and 120 metres wide

* Has 2194 pre-cast concrete sections as its roof

* Has roof sections weighing up to 15 tons

* Has roof sections held together by 350 km of tensioned steel cable

* Has over 1 million tiles on the roof

* Uses 6225 square metres of glass and 645 kilometres of electric cable

See also

Objects in Australia Objects in Australia

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