Sunday, October 20, 2013
October 20 - Sydney Opera House
40 years ago: The Sydney Opera House in Australia was formally opened on October 20, 1973, by Queen Elizabeth II. Designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon, the facility is located at the tip of a peninsula in Sydney Harbor. It is comprised of three groups of interlocking vaulted “shells,” housing two main performance halls and a restaurant, set on a huge platform and surrounded by terraces. Utzon won a 1955 competition on the basis of designs that were little more than preliminary drawings. Construction begun in 1958 involved radically new construction approaches that caused repeated delays and difficulties. Work on the soaring shells took eight years, required specially-cast ceramic tiles, and was one of the earliest uses of computers in structural analysis to understand complex design forces. The project was completed 10 years late and more than 14 times over-budget. Utzon, who resigned midway through the work because of hostility from a new, conservative Australian prime minister, was not invited to the opening, nor was his name mentioned.