Sydney Opera House Facts
The Sydney Opera House is an iconic building that has come to be recognised internationally as a symbol of both Sydney and Australia. The Sydney Opera House (I’ll abbreviate that to SOH because it takes a long time to write out!) was opened in 1973 and has welcomed hundreds of thousands of visitors each year since. How many of these fun Sydney Opera House facts did you know?
- The SOH was designed by a Danish architect by the name of Jørn Utzon: Utzon entered the design contest for the SOH in 1957 and was surprised to win, as he was up against some internationally renowned architects.
- Due to a dispute with the government of the time, Utzon was not invited to the eventual opening ceremony in 1973: In fact, during his lifetime, Utzon never set foot inside the completed SOH or even returned to Australia.
- The falling out between Utzon and the government was incredibly severe: Utzon was effectively forced out after the government refused to pay fees to his architecture firm.
- Financing the construction of the SOH was a major challenge, with the project running well over budget: The initial projection when construction commenced in 1959 was for a total cost of $7 million, but this ballooned to over $100 million.
- It had been hope that construction could finish in 1963, but the SOH was not opened until 1973: The final cost blowout exceeded over 1,000% of the initial estimate.
- There are a number of individual halls and theatres within the SOH itself: Of these, the largest is the concert hall, which houses nearly 2,700 seats. It is also home to the world’s largest tracker action organ.
- The Joan Sutherland Theatre is the second-largest performance space within the SOH: It is the home of the Australian Ballet and can seat over 1,500 guests.
- The SOH was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site list in 2007: As of July 2017, there are 1,073 sites around the world that have earned this designation, and 19 other sites within Australia.
- An unusual facts about the SOH is that the air conditioning system – at the time one of the largest in Australia – uses sea water from Sydney Harbour: This system was designed by another Danish firm, Steensen Varming.
- The sails of the SOH are covered in small tiles in both glossy white and matte white: All up, there are over 1,000,000 tiles attached to the outside of the building.