Jun 29, 2007

World Heritage

Just a few days ago, the Sydney Opera House made it to the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Built from 1957 to 1973, based upon the vision of Danish architect Jorn Utzon, the initial budget of 7 millions dollars ended up... 16 times higher.

The Opera House is the youngest building to receive World Heritage status, and only the second to be so designated while its architect is alive (after the Brazilian capital complex in Brasilia, designed by Oscar Niemeyer).

The Sydney Opera House comprises three groups of interlocking vaulted shells that form the roof and set upon a vast terraced platform (the podium). The shells are faced in glazed off-white ceramic tiles that constantly change in a myriad of colours and hues at different times during the day and the seasons.

The interior of the complex and its two main auditoriums, the Opera Theatre and the Concert Hall, were completed by local government architects; the results, visually and acoustically, have never been considered equal to the magnificent exterior.

In 1999 the New South Wales state government engaged Utzon to provide plans for a multi-stage renovation of the Opera House to an updated version of his original intentions. While he is himself, now at age 88, no longer able to make the journey to Australia, his son Jan Utzon is working on the project and visiting the site regularly.

The Utzons' latest plan, revealed in April, is for a major restructuring of the Opera Theatre that would involve cutting into the sandstone underneath the building and lowering the auditorium's floor by four meters.

The building is situated on the tip of Bennelong Point in Sydney, a prominent peninsula projecting into Sydney Harbour and within close vicinity to the world famous Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Read more here and there.

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