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THE ICON



The Sydney Opera House | Images by Tom Blachford
The Sydney Opera House is one of the great architectural works of the 20th century, and at the time marked a radically new approach to construction. Designed in 1957 by Danish architect Jørn Utzon; construction started the following year but due to the controversy that surrounded its completion The Opera House didn't formally open for another 15 years.
"Utzon made a building well ahead of its time, far ahead of available technology, and he persevered through extraordinarily malicious publicity and negative criticism to build a building that changed the image of an entire country." - Frank Gehry
Utzon's design was selected out of 233 submissions from 32 countries, with the actual construction techniques having to be 'worked out' along the way, as the structure was completely unique to anything attempted before. After escalating costs, rebuilds, delays and a change in government, Utzons talent and abilities were being questioned. The final straw for the architect came in 1966, when his request to use a particular supplier for the roof structure was refused. Unable to bear anymore, Utzon resigned from the job and vowed never to return to Australia.


Seven years later in 1973 The Opera House was finally completed, but Utzon was not invited to the ceremony, nor was his name mentioned in any of the speeches. Thankfully he was recognised later when asked back to design updates to the interior and in 2003 was awarded the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize

It's hard to imagine Sydney without The Opera House. There is nothing quite like it and it still captures the hearts of both locals and tourist alike. It may have taken 15 years and $102 million dollars (which seems like peanuts now) but it was well worth the wait and in 2007 The Sydney Opera House became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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