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7 Rejected Proposals for Sydney Opera House

7 Rejected Proposals for Sydney Opera House
7 Rejected Proposals for Sydney Opera House, Sydney Opera House. Image © Budget Direct via NeoMam Studios
Sydney Opera House. Image © Budget Direct via NeoMam Studios

An iconic piece of architecture recognized around the world, the Sydney Opera House was designed by Jørn Utzon, following a 1956 competition that attracted 222 competition entries. Since its opening in 1973, the building has redefined the ambitions of Australia and only last September celebrated its latest milestone: turning completely carbon neutral.

The history behind the Opera House and its creation is as rich as the architecture itself. In 1956 the New South Wales Government called an open competition for the design of two performance halls, for opera and for symphony concerts, hoping to establish Sydney as a major city. Danish architect Jørn Utzon won the competition with an entry that consisted of a few simple sketches that intrigued the jury.

Sydney Opera House. Image © Budget Direct via NeoMam Studios
Sydney Opera House. Image © Budget Direct via NeoMam Studios

But what of the 221 rejected proposals? In an effort to speculate what could have been for the Sydney landmark, Budget Direct Australia has teamed up with NeoMam Studios to generate images for seven rejected proposals for the Sydney Opera House. Below, we have republished the proposals with a shortened description. For the full story, visit the Budget Direct website here.

The collaboration follows on from similar previous endeavors by NeoMam, who recently speculated on what New York’s Central Park could have looked like, and how six ruined British castles would look today had they stood the test of time.

1. Philadelphia Collaborative Group

1. Philadelphia Collaborative Group. Image © Budget Direct via NeoMam Studios
1. Philadelphia Collaborative Group. Image © Budget Direct via NeoMam Studios
1. Philadelphia Collaborative Group. Image © Budget Direct via NeoMam Studios
1. Philadelphia Collaborative Group. Image © Budget Direct via NeoMam Studios

Budget Direct: Second place in the competition went to this submarine-shaped opera house, created by an improvised team of seven designers in Philadelphia. Like the winning design, the structure was inspired by the seashell form and was to have utilized the latest techniques in the use of concrete.

2. Paul Boissevain and Barbara Osmond

2. Paul Boissevain and Barbara Osmond. Image © Budget Direct via NeoMam Studios
2. Paul Boissevain and Barbara Osmond. Image © Budget Direct via NeoMam Studios
2. Paul Boissevain and Barbara Osmond. Image © Budget Direct via NeoMam Studios
2. Paul Boissevain and Barbara Osmond. Image © Budget Direct via NeoMam Studios

Budget Direct: The judges were impressed with the human scale of the building and its promenade. And the boxy design and emphasis on walking can’t help but recall the tilted ground-to-roof walkway of Oslo Opera House in Norway, built fifty years after Boissevain and Osmond’s unrealized vision.

3. Sir Eugene Goossens

3. Sir Eugene Goossens. Image © Budget Direct via NeoMam Studios
3. Sir Eugene Goossens. Image © Budget Direct via NeoMam Studios
3. Sir Eugene Goossens. Image © Budget Direct via NeoMam Studios
3. Sir Eugene Goossens. Image © Budget Direct via NeoMam Studios

Budget Direct: Goossens was not only the conductor of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra but also the director of the NSW State Conservatorium of Music and one of the key voices in demanding for an opera house to be built.

4. Peter Kollar and Balthazar Korab

4. Peter Kollar and Balthazar Korab. Image © Budget Direct via NeoMam Studios
4. Peter Kollar and Balthazar Korab. Image © Budget Direct via NeoMam Studios
4. Peter Kollar and Balthazar Korab. Image © Budget Direct via NeoMam Studios
4. Peter Kollar and Balthazar Korab. Image © Budget Direct via NeoMam Studios

Budget Direct: Refugees from the communist regime in Hungary, Kollar and Korab’s entry was the highest ranking entry from an Australian entity. The judges commented on the project’s “very skillful planning.”

5. S.W. Milburn and Partners

5. S.W. Milburn and Partners. Image © Budget Direct via NeoMam Studios
5. S.W. Milburn and Partners. Image © Budget Direct via NeoMam Studios
5. S.W. Milburn and Partners. Image © Budget Direct via NeoMam Studios
5. S.W. Milburn and Partners. Image © Budget Direct via NeoMam Studios

Budget Direct: Milburn and Dow tucked their promenade under the raised building and planted a helicopter pad up on the roof, presumably in case the conductor needed to get somewhere in a hurry.

6. Vine and Vine

6. Vine and Vine. Image © Budget Direct via NeoMam Studios
6. Vine and Vine. Image © Budget Direct via NeoMam Studios
6. Vine and Vine. Image © Budget Direct via NeoMam Studios
6. Vine and Vine. Image © Budget Direct via NeoMam Studios

Budget Direct: English company Vine and Vine’s sprawling opera house was made up of two auditoria, separated by a restaurant. Like many of their competitors, the Vines made provision for outdoor space – in their case with a sunken waterside plaza.

7. Kelly and Gruzen

7. Kelly and Gruzen. Image © Budget Direct via NeoMam Studios
7. Kelly and Gruzen. Image © Budget Direct via NeoMam Studios
7. Kelly and Gruzen. Image © Budget Direct via NeoMam Studios
7. Kelly and Gruzen. Image © Budget Direct via NeoMam Studios

Budget Direct: This collaborative group’s entrance echoes the Vines’ with its sunken courtyards. But there’s also a certain Vegas-style pizzazz to the American team’s entry.

What New York's Central Park Could Have Looked Like

New York's iconic Central Park was designed in 1858 by F.L Olmsted and C. Vaux, having been chosen in a competition against 32 other entries. The competition called for the design of a park including a parade ground, fountain, watchtower, skating arena, four cross streets, and room for an exhibition hall.

4 Mega Bridges that were Never Built

2019 has already witnessed a series of bridge-related milestones marked, from the world's longest bridge nearing completion in Kuwait to the world's largest 3D-printed concrete bridge being completed in Shanghai. As we remain fixated on the future-driven, record-breaking accomplishments of realized bridge design, " 911 Metallurgist " has chosen to look back in history on some of the visionary ideas for bridges which never saw the light of day.

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About this author
Cite: Niall Patrick Walsh. "7 Rejected Proposals for Sydney Opera House" 17 Feb 2019. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/911580/7-rejected-proposals-for-sydney-opera-house/> ISSN 0719-8884
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