Sydney Opera House is one of the outstanding buildings in Australia. The grandeur and modern design leave every visitor astonished. Located at the harbour, Bennelong point in Sydney, this structure makes a design statement of its own.
Here are some interesting facts that you might not know about the Sydney Opera House:
In 1956 the Government announced a design competition with £5,000 as the prize money to design this iconic structure. The Architect of this building, Jorn Utzon, sent his design competing with 232 other architects and was rejected by three jury members. But, the fourth jury Ar. Eero Saarinen; a renowned American Architect, found his design remarkably interesting and later Ar. Jorn Utzon won the prize.
The construction of this marvellous structure started in 1959, with 10,000 workers on board. The estimated time of completion was four years, but due to situations and circumstances, it took 14 years. During the construction period, the local Government changed and they stopped the payment of Ar. Jorn Utzon. Due to this, he resigned in February 1966 and left Sydney. This resulted in a mob protest to bring him back. But he never returned. He won the design competition, created the best tourist spot in Australia but never visited the place, and never saw it. Peter Hall was appointed to complete the remaining work.
This 185 m long and 120 m wide building spread on 1.8-hectare land at harbour contains 2,194 precast sections to complete its roof. These sections weighed around 15 tons each, and to execute it perfectly about 350kms of steel tensioned cables were used. More than 1 million tiles were procured from Sweden which covers approx. 1.62 hectare of surface area. 6225 Sqm. the surface area is covered by glass specially manufactured in France, and 645 km long electric cables run inside the building to supply electricity.
Utilizing the site conditions to the fullest, cold water from harbour runs in a 35 km long pipe acting as thermal fluid for the building’s cooling system. For all the HVAC and fire services the seawater is used. The estimated cost of the total construction was $7 million, but over the period the final completion cost went up to $102 million which was paid majorly by The State Lottery.
Queen Elizabeth II officially inaugurated it on 20th October 1973. But in 1960 Sydney Opera House had seen its first performance by Paul Robeson. He climbed scaffolding to perform for all the workers over there, during their lunchtime.
This building has multiple different venues that host a minimum of 1500 performances annually. This being the 20th century’s famous building with splendid view encounters a crowd of more than 10.9 million people every year, and around 25000 people visit the beauty to celebrate their New year there.
There are around 1000 rooms in this building. The concert hall is the largest of all and contains 2679 seats with a giant tracker action mechanical organ made from 10,154 pipes. The temperature inside the concert hall is maintained at 22.5° C when the Sydney Symphony Orchestra plays to provide the best musical experience as the temperature and humidity are critical for instruments.
Jorn Utzon wanted to use plywood as the primary material for the interiors of the Opera House. As plywood is strong, aesthetically, it gives amazing contrast to the concrete, he wanted to do mock-ups and use it in floor, ceiling, shell, seats, corridor, and support glass wall. To protect it from the weather, he decided to use bronze. The Mayan temples inspired him at Yucatan to work on his vision for Bennelong Point and by the movement of seagulls’ wings during their flight for the design on the glass wall. To explain and demonstrate his idea, and design he used the time-lapse image of the flying seagull.
This building is a classic example of Expressionist Modernism. In the late nineties Ar. Jorn Utzon was appointed as a design consultant for all the future works by the Sydney Opera House Trust. Later after discussion Ar. Jorn Utzon agreed to provide a set of guidelines and his design principles that he applied to design the most important building of his career. And to honour his work a room of 210 seats was named after him.
In 2007, UNESCO proclaimed Sydney Opera House as the World Heritage Site, describing it as the remarkable urban sculpture facing towards the sea on the edge of the great peninsula at Sydney Harbour.