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Sydney Opera House: The Latest Architecture and News

Spotlight: Jørn Utzon

03:30 - 9 April, 2019
Spotlight: Jørn Utzon, Sydney Opera House. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/lutherankorean/2652730156'>Flickr user lutherankorean<a/> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/'>CC BY-ND 2.0</a>
Sydney Opera House. Image © Flickr user lutherankorean licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Pritzker Prize winning architect Jørn Utzon (9 April 1918 – 29 November 2008) was the relatively unknown Dane who, on the 29th January 1957, was announced as the winner of the "International competition for a national opera house at Bennelong Point, Sydney’." When speaking about this iconic building, Louis Kahn stated that "The sun did not know how beautiful its light was, until it was reflected off this building." Unfortunately, Utzon never saw the Sydney Opera House, his most popular work, completed.

Bagsværd Church. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/seier/5958688179/'>Flickr user seier</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/'>CC BY 2.0</a> Kuwait National Assembly. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/xiquinho/3447464666/'>Flickr user xiquinho</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/'>CC BY-SA 2.0</a> Utzon's Home on Mallorca. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/drzimage/475618855/'>Flickr user drzimage</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/'>CC BY-SA 2.0</a> Sydney Opera House. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/jimmyharris/114537716/'>Flickr user jimmyharris</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/'>CC BY 2.0</a> + 17

7 Rejected Proposals for Sydney Opera House

08:00 - 17 February, 2019
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 Becomes Carbon Neutral

14:00 - 24 September, 2018
Sydney Opera House Becomes Carbon Neutral, Courtesy of Sydney Opera House
Courtesy of Sydney Opera House

The Sydney Opera House is celebrating a significant environmental milestone, having become carbon neutral five years ahead of schedule. For reducing its carbon dioxide emissions through efficiencies in waste and energy management, the Opera House was awarded certification from the Australian Government’s National Carbon Offset Standard (NCOS).

The sails of the Sydney Opera House were illuminated green on the night of Monday 24th September to celebrate the carbon neutral certification.

© Prudence Upton Courtesy of Sydney Opera House Courtesy of Sydney Opera House © Hamilton Lund + 4

On Jørn Utzon's 100th Birthday, 11 Prominent Architects Pay Tribute to the Great Architect

09:30 - 9 April, 2018
© <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/seier/5958688179/'>Flickr user seier</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/'>CC BY 2.0</a>
© Flickr user seier licensed under CC BY 2.0

Today marks what would have been the 100th birthday of the leading Danish architect, Jørn Utzon. Notably responsible for what could be argued to be the most prominent building in the world, the Sydney Opera House, Utzon accomplished what many architects can only dream of: a global icon. To celebrate this special occasion, Louisiana Channel has collaborated with the Utzon Center in Aalborg, Denmark to put together a video series to hear prominent architects and designers talk, including Bjarke Ingels and Renzo Piano, about their experiences with Utzon and his work—from his unrivalled visual awareness of the world, to his uncompromising attitude that led him to create such strong architectural statements.

Unlike many architects around at the time of Jørn Utzon, who as modernists rejected tradition in favour of new technologies and orthogonal plans, Utzon combined these usually contradictory qualities in an exceptional manner. As the architects recount, he was a globalist with a Nordic base, that has inspired the next generation to travel the world and challenge their concepts. Many of them compare his work to Alvar Aalto’s, as both shared an organic approach to architecture, looking at growth patterns in nature for inspiration. Utzon even coined this approach "Additive Architecture," whereby both natural and cultural forms are united to form buildings that are designed more freely.

The Arc de Triomphe as an Elephant?! These Illustrations Reveal What Famous Monuments Could Have Been

08:00 - 15 January, 2018
The Arc de Triomphe as an Elephant?! These Illustrations Reveal What Famous Monuments Could Have Been, Courtesy of GoCompare
Courtesy of GoCompare

A city’s monuments are integral parts of its metropolitan identity. They stand proud and tall and are often the subject of a few of your vacation photos. It is their form and design which makes them instantly recognizable, but what if their design had turned out differently?

Paris’ iconic and stunning Arc de Triomphe could have been a giant elephant, large enough to hold banquets and balls, and the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. could have featured an impressive pyramid.

GoCompare has compiled and illustrated a series of rejected designs for monuments and placed them in a modern context to commemorate what could have been. Here are a few of our favorites:

The Sydney Opera House Comes to Life (Literally) With Vivid Sydney Light Show

16:00 - 28 May, 2017

Vivid LIVE, part of the annual festival of lights and music known as Vivid Sydney, is taking place this weekend. As in previous years, the event was launched with a mesmerizing video projection mapped onto the sails of Sydney's iconic Opera House. Titled "Audio Creatures," this year's projection was created by Ash Bolland sees the Opera House writhe and squirm to a soundtrack by Amon Tobin; at times the shells of the building crack open to reveal new life inside, at other moments, infestations crawl their way across from the building's edges.

Read on to see more photographs from the show and the full video of the event.

© Yaya Stempler © Yaya Stempler © Yaya Stempler © Yaya Stempler + 27

"Don't Blame Me!": 6 Projects That Were Disowned by High-Profile Architects

09:30 - 22 May, 2017
"Don't Blame Me!": 6 Projects That Were Disowned by High-Profile Architects, © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/tseedmund/5351328288/'>Flickr user tseedmund</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/'>CC BY 2.0</a>
© Flickr user tseedmund licensed under CC BY 2.0

Construction is an exercise in frugality and compromise. To see their work realized, architects have to juggle the demands of developers, contractors, clients, engineers—sometimes even governments. The resulting concessions often leave designers with a bruised ego and a dissatisfying architectural result. While these architects always do their best to rectify any problems, some disputes get so heated that the architect feels they have no choice but to walk away from their own work. Here are 6 of the most notable examples:

Courtesy of Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Studio Pali Fekete architects, AMPAS © Oskar Da Riz Fotografie © Danica O. Kus © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/18378655@N00/2894726149/'>Flickr user James Cridland</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en'>CC BY 2.0</a> + 7

Sydney Opera House to Undergo $202 Million Renovation

12:05 - 11 August, 2016
Sydney Opera House to Undergo $202 Million Renovation, Concert Hall. Image Courtesy of Sydney Opera House
Concert Hall. Image Courtesy of Sydney Opera House

The Sydney Opera House has revealed designs for a $202 million renovation project, the largest upgrade program to the Jørn Utzon-designed building since it opened in 1973. Announced by New South Wales Deputy Premier and Minister for the Arts, Troy Grant, the project’s main goal is to “improve access and ensure it meets the needs and expectations of audiences, artists and the 8.2 million people who visit each year.”

Concert Hall Lift. Image Courtesy of Sydney Opera House Concert Hall. Image Courtesy of Sydney Opera House Function Center. Image Courtesy of Sydney Opera House Northern Foyer. Image Courtesy of Sydney Opera House + 12

Upcoming Feature Film to Chronicle the Trials and Tribulations of Jørn Utzon and the Sydney Opera House

16:00 - 18 June, 2016
Upcoming Feature Film to Chronicle the Trials and Tribulations of Jørn Utzon and the Sydney Opera House, Courtesy of Flickr user Chris Maidlow, licensed under Creative Commons 2.0
Courtesy of Flickr user Chris Maidlow, licensed under Creative Commons 2.0

The Sydney Opera House is one of the most iconic buildings in the world. A momentous achievement in design and engineering, the building quickly cemented itself as a defining feature of the Australian cultural landscape. But the realization of the building was not a straightforward one, and almost immediately after the project was awarded it became fraught with controversy and uncertainty. At the center of this controversy was the architect, Jørn Utzon, who eventually resigned after mounting conflict with the state government. Now, this period of Utzon's life will be chronicled in a new feature length film, Utzon, The Man Behind the Opera House, reports The Guardian.

Vivid Sydney Makes a Light Show of the City's Harbour and Beyond

16:00 - 27 May, 2016
Vivid Sydney Makes a Light Show of the City's Harbour and Beyond, Opera House Songlines. Image Courtesy of Destination New South Wales
Opera House Songlines. Image Courtesy of Destination New South Wales

Vivid Sydney, the Australian city's annual festival of lights, began today with colorful installations that reinvent icons like the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Jørn Utzon’s renowned Opera House. The event is host to over 90 light installations devised by more than 150 artists from 23 countries, appearing in eight precincts across the city.

Opera House Songlines. Image Courtesy of Destination New South Wales Cathedral of Light, Botanic Gardens. Image Courtesy of Destination New South Wales Circular Quay. Image Courtesy of Destination New South Wales Chatswood Gondwana Light Lab. Image Courtesy of Destination New South Wales + 18

Students Propose to Revitalize Sydney Opera House in 2015 MADE Program

08:00 - 31 January, 2016
Students Propose to Revitalize Sydney Opera House in 2015 MADE Program, © Prudence Upton
© Prudence Upton

The 2015 session of MADE—the Multidisciplinary Australian Danish Exchange—has recently been completed and presented to the public. Established in 2013 by the Sydney Opera House, the MADE Program is an extracurricular experience for Australian and Danish students of architecture, engineering, and design.

Teams of five students are exchanged between Australia and Denmark and work in multidisciplinary teams of two architects, two engineers, and one designer for six weeks on a collaborative project aligned with Jørn Utzon’s Design Principles.

Alternative Realities: 7 Radical Buildings That Could-Have-Been

09:30 - 21 September, 2015
Alternative Realities: 7 Radical Buildings That Could-Have-Been, Masterplan for the World Trade Center by Richard Meier & Partners, Eisenman Architects, Gwathmey Siegel and Associates, and Steven Holl Architects. Image © Jock Pottle. Courtesy Richard Meier & Partners Architects
Masterplan for the World Trade Center by Richard Meier & Partners, Eisenman Architects, Gwathmey Siegel and Associates, and Steven Holl Architects. Image © Jock Pottle. Courtesy Richard Meier & Partners Architects

In It’s A Wonderful Life the film’s protagonist George Bailey, facing a crisis of faith, is visited by his guardian angel, and shown an alternate reality where he doesn’t exist. The experience gives meaning to George’s life, showing him his own importance to others. With the increasing scale of design competitions these days, architectural “could-have-beens” are piling up in record numbers, and just as George Bailey's sense of self was restored by seeing his alternate reality, hypothesizing about alternative outcomes in architecture is a chance to reflect on our current architectural moment.

Today marks the one-year-anniversary of the opening of Phase 3 of the High Line. While New Yorkers and urbanists the world over have lauded the success of this industrial-utility-turned-urban-oasis, the park and the slew of other urban improvements it has inspired almost happened very differently. Although we have come to know and love the High Line of Diller Scofidio + Renfro and James Corner Field Operations, in the original ideas competition four finalists were chosen and the alternatives show stark contrasts in how things might have shaped up.

On this key date for one of the most crucial designs of this generation, we decided to look back at some of the most important competitions of the last century to see how things might have been different.

Joseph Marzella's second-place design for the Sydney Opera House. Image via The Daily Mail Designs for the Chicago Tribune Tower by Adolf Loos (left) and Bruno Taut, Walter Gunther, and Kurz Schutz (right). Image via skyscraper.org Design for the High Line by Zaha Hadid Architects with Balmori Associates, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP and studio MDA. Image via University of Adelaide on Cargo Collective Moshe Safdie's design for the Centre Pompidou. Image Courtesy of Safdie Architects + 16

Le Corbusier Tapestry Intended for the Sydney Opera House Will Finally be Installed

06:00 - 4 August, 2015
Le Corbusier Tapestry Intended for the Sydney Opera House Will Finally be Installed, © Sydney Opera House. Image via Architecture AU
© Sydney Opera House. Image via Architecture AU

On June 9, 2015, philanthropists finally acquired a tapestry by Le Corbusier originally intended to be hung in the Sydney Opera House. After Jørn Utzon won the commission for the building in 1958, he wrote to Le Corbusier, whom he admired, requesting a piece of “decoration, carpet and painting” for the Sydney Opera House, including drawings of his design. The two met in Paris in 1959 and the work was completed and delivered in 1960, where it was hung in Utzon’s own house. After Utzon left Australia in 1966, the tapestry was never installed in the Opera House, remaining in the Utzon house until now. Read the whole story on Architecture AU here.

Video: Jørn Utzon's Nature-Inspired Sydney Opera House

18:00 - 7 April, 2015

Sydney Opera House recently created a video exploring how Jørn Utzon was inspired by the form and function of nature. While Jørn Utzon may not have seen himself as a pioneer of sustainable techniques, sustainability was inherent in his design philosophy. Watch the video above to learn more.

Videos: The Best Architectural Firework Displays of New Year 2015

00:00 - 3 January, 2015
Videos: The Best Architectural Firework Displays of New Year 2015, © Flickr CC user Bengin Ahmad
© Flickr CC user Bengin Ahmad

As any self-respecting world city now knows, when the time comes to change the calenders, you'd better also have an iconic building from which to hang some fireworks. With people all over the world looking out for the most impressive New Year's celebrations, we've picked the most impressive architecturally-focused displays. Not surprisingly, Dubai - the world capital of "go big or go home" - probably had the most impressive show of the year, with a combined light-and-firework show to turn the Burj Khalifa into the world's largest celebratory canvas. However, a special mention goes to Paris' Arc de Triomphe, where a tasteful 14-minute light mapping display paid homage to the city's other great architectural works, from the Eiffel Tower to the Centre Pompidou, before moving onto stylized scenes of Paris life to bring in the new year.

Continue after the break for all the videos of the world's best New Year celebrations.

See The Most Over Budget Projects of All Time Ranked in this Infographic

00:00 - 10 October, 2014
See The Most Over Budget Projects of All Time Ranked in this Infographic , Courtesy of Podio
Courtesy of Podio

One thousand nine hundred and ninety: the percentage by which the $3 billion Montreal Olympic Stadium - a project designated only $148 million in 1973 - exceeded its original budget. Ten: the number of years that the Sydney Opera House was over its deadline. Twenty-four: the number of projects included in Monumental Budget Busters, an interactive infographic ranking an array of works - ranging from the International Space Station to the Sochi Olympics - from smallest to largest in cost and time overruns. The list includes infrastructure, architecture, and governmental projects with budget overruns ranging from $210 million to $68 billion. These costs beg the question - does the end justify the means? Find out with the interactive infographic after the break.

Does Australia Need More Design Competitions?

01:00 - 12 August, 2014
Does Australia Need More Design Competitions? , © Flickr - User: Jong Soo (Peter) Lee
© Flickr - User: Jong Soo (Peter) Lee

Architecture competitions offer an opportunity for architects to launch their careers, and in some cases generate unexpected designs in the process. Many iconic works of architecture, including the famous Sydney Opera House, were the result of open design competitions - but do architecture competitions today maintain the influence they might have had in the past? While critics in the United States have recently argued that it could be time to quit competitions, Donald Bates argues that Australians should be organizing more. In his article on The Conversation, Bates discusses the state of design competitions in Australia, and why we should take another look. Read the full article here.

The Sydney Opera House: Celebrating 40 Years

00:00 - 20 October, 2013
The Sydney Opera House: Celebrating 40 Years, © Flickr - User: Jong Soo (Peter) Lee
© Flickr - User: Jong Soo (Peter) Lee

Today is the 40th anniversary of the completion of the Sydney Opera House, the symbol of Australia. Since its opening in 1973, the Opera House has welcomed over 65 million people to more than 80,000 memorable events. To celebrate, an Anniversary program will run from mid to late October, with concerts, tours, exhibitions, and cake! A true masterpiece that continues to redefine the ambitions of Australia, the Opera House is part of an incredible story, a work of architecture that belongs to everyone.

© Flickr - User: Jong Soo (Peter) Lee © Jozef Vissel © Flickr - User: Heaven's Gate (John) © Tomas Klein + 12