The Opera House Project: Telling the Story of Australia's Icon

To coincide with the 40th anniversary of the completion of Danish architect Jørn Utzon's Sydney Opera House, The Opera House Project takes you on a journey from the project's inception in 1954 - known as Design 218 - to the completed masterpiece up to 2012, and all the personal, political and technical struggles that the designers were faced with. As expressed by Sam Doust, writer and director of the project, the epic journey is based on an "aspiration to perfection" and then the "failure to achieve it".

Divided into four chapters, Concept, Design and Architecture, Engineering and Construction, Performance and Events, and Bennelong Point, the project investigates the opera house's origins and how it was selected from 233 entries, of which it was among the last to be received. The incredible collaborative approach to the technical and aesthetic design of the building in the first phases of construction are a story in themselves, with a collective 150,000 hours (over ten years) of man hours put into structural problem solving alone. This led the Pritzker Prize citation to declare in 2003 that "it is one of the great iconic buildings of the 20th century, an image of great beauty that has become known throughout the world—a symbol for not only a city, but a whole country and continent".

The Opera House Project is compatible with both internet browsers and mobile devices. It's an unbelievably engaging story including archived footage, images and sound recordings courtesy of Arup and the New South Wales government. If you don't have time to watch the entire project, perhaps just check out their fantastic 3D models. Transcripts of the entire story are also available.

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Cite: James Taylor-Foster. "The Opera House Project: Telling the Story of Australia's Icon" 20 Oct 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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