The House That Jorn Built

21 Feb 2014

Sydney Opera House Sydney Harbour Bridge & Opera House

Having recently celebrated its 40th birthday, the Sydney Opera House is the most famous house in Australia. Except it's not really a house, it's an iconic performing arts venue situated on Bennelong Point in Sydney Harbour, in the shade of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. To be completely honest, Jorn Utzon didn't build it either, but the Danish architect did design this iconic landmark as part of a competition run by the NSW government. Out of 233 entries submitted by architects from 32 countries, Jorn's unique design was announced as the winner in 1957.

Further work on the design was required however that didn't stop construction on the base of the building from beginning in 1959, four years before the designs were finally completed in 1962. The now iconic landmark took a total of 14 years to build, officially opening on 20 October 1973 by Queen Elizabeth II. The fascinating building and cultural icon featured a concert hall, recital hall, drama theatre, opera theatre and bars and restaurants upon opening with a fifth theatre later added in 1998.

Costing in excess of $160 million to build, the Sydney Opera House's radical 'sail' design pushed the limits of engineering knowledge and was supported by a series of public lotteries in which people purchased tickets in the hope of winning the top prize of $1 million. Despite his involvement from the early stages, unfortunately Utzon left before the building was completed after becoming embroiled in a massive political row with the NSW government.

Regardless of whether Utzon was able to enjoy the finished product of his design, today visitors can enjoy regular daily tours of the Sydney Opera House and the walking paths that surround it leading back to the city and Botanic Gardens. There is also a great range of Sydney accommodation which offers unsurpassed views of one of the most iconic landmarks in the country, if not the world.