Sydney Opera House
building complex for performing arts
Sydney's magnificent Opera House building was the centre of conflict from the time Danish architect Joern Utzon won the international design competition for the building in 1957. People still argue about how well Utzon managed the project - the building was completed in 1973 without him.
But the Opera House was also the focus for many architectural innovations. These included the pioneering use of computers to calculate the stresses and loads on the two-way curved roofs, and development of a way to build the roofs in concrete.
The Opera House experience gave its builders and designers pre-eminence in computer aided reinforced concrete design, skills that they've since used on overseas projects.
The pipe organ in the concert hall of the Sydney Opera House was designed and built by self-taught organ builder Ron Sharp between 1967 and 1979. When the organ was finished it was the largest mechanical organ in the world, with innovative features such as electronic stops control and a computerised playback system.
Another innovation that is sometimes overlooked is that the NSW government met the $103 million price tag by appealing to the Australian love of gambling, through the profits from a series of Opera House lotteries.
Who Did It?
NSW Department of Public Works : design, construction
Joern Utzon : architect
Peter Rice : design engineer
Ronald Sharp : designer, builder
'Utzon breaks his silence'
Good Weekend, 31 October 1992, pp 12-19.
Sydney Opera House organ
Sydney Opera House Trust, Sydney, 1980.
Sydney Opera House. Official
site includes timeline
Great Buildings Online
Morning Herald articles