New Wonder of the World Runner-Up: The Sydney Opera House

The Sydney Opera House, a masterpiece of  late modern architecture, is a New Wonder of the World Runner-Up and a World Heritage Site.   It is a world-class performing arts centre and a symbol of Sydney and Australia.  The Opera House was designed by Denmark’s Jørn Utzon using Sydney Harbor as a backdrop.  After cost overruns, he was replaced by Peter Hall who oversaw the construction which was completed in 1973.

Sydney Opera House

Utzon created a distinctive roof using sets of interlocking vaulted shells set upon a terraced platform and surrounded by terrace areas that functions as pedestrian concourses.  Each shell is composed of pre-cast rib segments radiating from a concrete pedestal and rising to a ridge beam. The shells are faced in glazed off-white tiles while the podium is clad in earth-toned, reconstituted granite panels.



The interior consists of two main halls arranged side by side, generally running north-south. The larger hall was the concert hall, the smaller was for opera.  The auditoria face south, away from the harbour with the stages located between the audience and the city. The Forecourt is a vast open space from which people ascend the stairs to the podium. The Monumental Steps, nearly 100 yards wide, lead up from the Forecourt to the two main performance venues.

Utzon returned in 1999 to establish a set of principles that would serve as a basis of future designs to maintain the architectural integrity.  He also oversaw the refurbishing of the Reception Hall.  For More Info:

Tomorrow, Timbuktu   Rita Bay

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