Sydney Opera House
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Architect Jorn Utzon
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Location Sydney, Australia   map
Date 1957 to 1973   timeline
Building Type opera house
 Construction System tile-clad concrete and precast concrete
Climate temperate
Context urban waterfront
Style Expressionist Modern
Notes Great stairway, family of forms in spherical section roofs, pure curving shapes that across the harbor in great heroic harmony


Photo, eye-level overview from the water

Photo, eye-level overview

Photo, eye-level side elevation overview


Axonometric Drawing


Lower Plan Drawing


Section Drawing

Section Drawing

Main Level Plan Drawing

...more drawings available on The GBC CD-ROM

3D Model
3D Massing Model (DesignWorkshop 3dmf)

3D Spatial Model (DesignWorkshop 3dmf)

Model Viewing Instructions
 Free 3D for the GBC
Discussion Sydney Opera House Commentary

"The construction of the beautiful freestanding, sculptural tripartite Opera House was one of the longest contractual sagas of the century. Sadly, architect Jorn Utzon became the scapegoat of a scandalous political affair and in 1966 withdrew from his project. Sitting on Bennelong Point, virtually in the Harbour and overlooked by the great Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Opera House is completely exposed, as three-dimensional as the orange segments its forms are based on. It is all roofs with an imposing base. These were made possible by Ove Arup. Originally the winner of an international open competition in 1957, it was a scheme that broke most of the rules. It was finally completed in August 1973 by other hands under the direction of Peter Hall."

— Dennis Sharp. Twentieth Century Architecture: a Visual History. p315.

In the long run, Utzon has been credited and acclaimed for the design, warmly indeed by the opera staff.

Sources on Sydney Opera House

"Postcard from Sydney", by Elizabeth Bollinger, ArchitectureWeek No. 311, 2006.1108. pC1.1.

"Jørn Utzon Pritzker Prize", by ArchitectureWeek, ArchitectureWeek No. 142, 2003.0416. pN1.1.

Michael Baume. The Sydney Opera House Affair. Camden, N.J.: Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1967. NA6840.A79S9. section, p103. isometric view of major hall shells, p106.

Francis D. K. Ching. Architecture: Form, Space, and Order. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1979. ISBN 0-442-21535-5. LC 79-18045. NA2760.C46. exterior perspective drawing, p380. — A nice graphic introduction to architectural ideas. Updated 1996 edition available at

Roger H. Clark and Michael Pause. Precedents in Architecture. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1985. geometry diagram, p191. reduction diagram, p210. — Updated edition available at

Philip Drew, Jorn Utzen, Anthony Browell. Sydney Opera House. London: Phaidon Press Ltd., 1995. NA6840.A79S93 1995. ISBN 0-7148-3297-9. Includes many detailed drawings of the Sydney Opera House, very useful for both study and model making. — Cataloged at

Pat Westcott. The Sydney Opera House. Sydney: Ure Smith, 1965. NA6840.A86W4. auditorium level plan, inside front cover. podium level plan, inside front cover. car entrance level plan, inside front cover.

Kevin Matthews. The Great Buildings Collection on CD-ROM. Artifice, 2001. ISBN 0-9667098-4-5.— Available at  Find books about Sydney Opera House


Web Resources
Links on Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera HouseThe official web site

Sydney Opera House at ArchiplanetFind, add, and edit info at the all-buildings collaboration

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