Sydney Opera House (2007)

Inaugurated in 1973, the Sydney Opera House, is listed as a great architectural work of the 20th century that brings together multiple strands of creativity and innovation, both in architectural form and structural design. A great urban sculpture set in a remarkable waterscape, at the tip a peninsula projecting into Sydney Harbour, the building has had an enduring influence on architecture. 

The Opera House comprises three groups of interlocking vaulted ‘shells' which roof two main performances halls and a restaurant. 

These shell-structure are set upon a vast platform and are surrounded by terrace areas that function as pedestrian concourses. In 1957, when the project of the Sydney opera was attributed by an international jury to the then almost unknown Danish architect Jørn Utzon, it marked a radically new and collaborative approach to construction. 

In listing the building, the Sydney Opera House is recognized as a great artistic monument accessible to society at large. 

Australia 1983. Sydney Opera House

An exquisite view of the Opera House, up front from the harbour.

Australia 2000. Sydney Harbour Bridge

The Sydney Opera house is an expressionist  modern design, with a series of large precast concrete 'shells', each taken from the same hemisphere, forming the roofs of the structure. The Opera House covers 1.8 hectares (4.5 acres) of land. It is 183 metres (605 feet) long and about 120 metres (388 feet) wide at its widest point. It is supported on 580 concrete piers sunk up to 25 metres below sea level. Its power supply is equivalent for a town of 25,000 people. 

The Sydney Opera House is one of the most distinctive and famous 20th century buildings, and one of the most famous performing arts venues in the world. Situated on Bennelong Point in Sydney Harbour, with parkland to its south and close to the equally famous Sydney Harbour Bridge, the building and its surroundings form an iconic Australian image. 

  • Australia 2000. Sydney Harbour Bridge. 

The Sydney Opera House contains five theatres, five rehearsal studios, two main halls, four restaurants, six bars and numerous souvenir shops, the five theatres making up the performance facilities:

  1. The Concert Hall, with 2,679 seats, contains the Sydney Opera House Grand Organ, the largest mechanical tracker action organ in the world with over 10,000 pipes.
  2. The Opera Theatre, with 1,547 seats, is the main performance space for Opera Australis, it is also used by the Australian Ballet Company. 
  3. The Drama Theatre, with 544 seats. 
  4. The Playhouse, with 398 seats. 
  5. The Studio Theatre, with 364 seats.

Besides theatrical productions, venues at the Sydney Opera House are also used for functions such as weddings, parties and conferences. 

Utzon's design, as performed in the construction of the Sydney Opera House, has inspired numerous architects and engineers throughout the world in their profession. A striking example of this is the Thames Barrier at Charlton (in Greater London), east of Greenwich. 

 Sources and links:

Other World Heritage Sites in Australia (on this site). Inactive links are not described on stamps. Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, Australia-section, for further information about such sites. 

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Revised 01 jul 2007  
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