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Project description

The Sydney Opera House is the result of an international competition for architects held in 1956.

Jørn Utzon won the competition in 1957 and construction commenced in 1959, before the structure was fully documented. Subsequently the project was being developed during construction.

After a government change in 1965, the Opera House was taken over by a new client. This client wanted to change the brief or programme for the building, including structures already present.

Discussions with the new client led to Jorn Utzon’s departure from the project in 1966, after which time the remainder of the design and construction was carried out by local architects. This concerned the large glass walls closing the ends of the roof-shelle and all the interiors.

Upon completion in 1973, the cost of the Opera House had risen to 110 million Australian dollars, 7 million of which had been spent on the structure of the Podium, 12 million on the roof shells (both parts with Jorn Utzon as the architect) and the remaining 91 million was spent by the new client and their consultants on completing all other parts of the building.

In 1999 Jorn Utzon was re-engaged to assist with plans for the future development of the Opera House. This has resulted in a number of changes and modifications to the building, such as the “Utzon room” the “Western foyer with its Colonnade” along the western side of the Podium. Escalators and a lift have been installed, to ease access to the various levels of the building. Further, a project has been developed to refurbish the Opera Theatre venue, now the “Joan Sutherland Theatre”. This project has yet to be implemented.

All relevant facts can be obtained through the Sydneyoperahouse web-site.

In spite of its history, or perhaps partly because of it, the Sydney Opera House has become the much loved symbol of Sydney and a World Heritage Icon for Australia.

Project details

Country: Sydney, Australia


  • 1956 – 1966: Architect “Jorn Utzon”
  • 1966 – 1973: Architects “Hall – Todd – Littlemore”
  • 1999 – present:  Jorn Utzon and utzon associates architects as consultants, in collaboration with  “Johnson, Pilton, Walker” – “Scott Carver” and other local architects.

Additional information

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