The Sydney Opera House is a true card of Australia. Instead of a palace, it is located in a building that strikes everyone: it is as if it consists of sails and seashells, merged together. Diletant.media will tell today about one of the most famous theaters in the world.
Theater at the site of the fort and tram depot
The Sydney Opera House is a rather young theater. Its discovery took place on October 20, 1973. But the idea of creation appeared as early as 1954, when the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and the New South Wales Conservatory made a proposal. The government chose a place for the future building. Interestingly, in the harbor of Bennelong Point, where today is one of the most famous theaters in the world, there used to be a fort, and a little later - a simple tram depot. So even 60 years ago, your screen saver on your desktop would look very different.
Over 2 years, more than 200 applications have been received, and they say that the jury initially rejected the idea of the Dane Jorn Utzon, who later became the architect of the theater. True, the Dane was lucky: Finn Eero Saarinen joined the jury, who saw a huge potential in the Utzon project. In 1957, the winner was announced, and Sydney began to prepare for the appearance in the harbor of an expressive project from a mixture of shells and sails.
Watson himself said that he was inspired by the appearance of the orange peel shot by triangles - imagine the size of an orange, from which such a giant skin was removed: almost 150 meters in diameter! Anyway, the project of the theater marked the transition from a conservative-industrial style in architecture to structural expressionism or simply structuralism. The peculiarity of this style is the use of natural, organic forms.
Watson failed to bring his project to the end. David Hughes, the then minister of construction at the time, accused the architect of budget overruns, lack of professionalism, inability to complete the project and other deadly sins.
Then Watson was suspended from business, and the Dane had to leave Australia. The theater was completed by local architects, and at the grand opening of Watson they were not even invited, his name was not mentioned there, and he never again saw with his own eyes the brainchild. But Khadzhesa after 2 years knighted. What is not the plot for this melodrama?
The theater of the "shells"
The curvature of the building segments is constant, which is why the “wings” look so harmonious. "Shells" are covered with almost a million tiles that shimmer in the sun. The two largest "shells" form the ceiling of the Concert Hall and the Opera Theater, located inside. True, this kind of stepped roof system played a cruel joke with the architect: the resulting height could not provide the necessary acoustics in the halls. I had to build on additional theater ceilings. In total, almost 1,000 rooms were placed inside the theater.
Sydney Theater covers an area of 2.2 hectares! The theater has a length of 185 meters, and 120 meters wide. The highest shell is 67 meters. All this construction weighs 27 tons.
It was planned that the construction will be completed in 4 years and will be in the amount of 7 million Australian dollars. But the design was too complicated, so the case was delayed for 14 years, and during this time spent almost 102 million! The right to possess an excellent model of structuralism cost the residents of Sydney dearly.
Queen of Britain opens theater in Australia
At the opening of the theater in 1973, Elizabeth II arrived in Australia. In those days, the relationship between Britain and Australia was very unusual. The Australian Union would be founded on the territory of the British colony in 1901, which in 1907 received the status of dominion of Great Britain, that is, in fact, became a virtually independent state. In 1942, Australia adopted the Westminster Statute (an act of the British Parliament, which established the rights of dominions). According to the statute, only the British monarch remained in Australia and Great Britain. That is why the Queen of Great Britain participated in a landmark event in the life of Australia - the opening of the Sydney Opera. And in 1986, Australians adopted an act according to which the British parliament lost its supremacy over the Australian parliament.
Queen Elizabeth II performs at the opening of the theater
UNESCO World Heritage Site
In 2003, theater architect Jorn Watzon received the Pritzker Prize - a kind of Nobel Prize for architects. And in 2007 an event happened out of the ordinary: Watson was recognized as the creator of the UNESCO World Heritage Site made by man in his lifetime! And it was done very timely: in 2008, the famous Jorn Watson died at the age of 90.