Architecture / Interior /

The Giant White Shells: Sydney Opera House

By Barbara Hahijary

Like other major cities of Australia, Sydney is a coastal city that is well known for its cityscape. The capital of New South Wales (NSW) has their Sydney Opera House as their most iconic architecture, recognized by the rest of the world. The modern sculpture is located at the facing the remarkable waterscape in front of Sydney’s harbor. Since 1940, this specific location was booked to be a major cultural center. Then in 1956, the government implemented an international design competition to build the masterpiece – the public expectantly wished for an Australian architect. Surprisingly, a Danish architect, Jørn Utzon and his interlocking vaulted white ‘shells’ design won the competition.

Having a familiar shape to the location, the seashell shaped is truly an original and brilliant idea to add to the coastal scene. The expressionism found on the architecture could also possibly represent the oceanic waves, coated in white. Inside the opera house, there are two main performance halls, and one restaurant under the three shell shaped roofs. The unique form forced a discussion concerning high technology and new materials required to build start building, however after they managed to begin construction in 1958. It took six years longer than scheduled to finish the whole building – it was finally completed in 1973 and inaugurated soon afterwards by Queen Elizabeth II on 20 October 1973. The process required ten times more than its initial cost, but fortunately the impressive design has been a legendary innovation for both its structural engineering and technology.

Until this day, the Sydney Opera House is used as a world-class performing arts center, recognized as the most famous theater as well as the greatest architectural work in the 20th century. This art piece often represents the whole of Sydney, as it stands to be the most visited site in the country. It is no wonder that UNESCO has accepted it as World Heritage Site.


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