The Sydney Opera House: politics in the creation of an icon

Adrian Carter, Roger Tyrrell

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

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For an architect to have the opportunity to realise their dreams, particularly with regards a public project of the stature of the Sydney Opera House, there always needs to be a political vision, initiative and willingness to do drive the project forward. Today it would be difficult to imagine Sydney, without the iconic building that so defines its identity, projecting out into the harbour so dramatically on the promontory of Bennelong Point. Prior though to the building of the Opera House, this remarkable location was merely the location of Sydney’s tram depot; a strangely castellated building that attempted to pay homage to the fortification originally built there by Governor Macquarie in 1820, designed by the convict architect Francis Greenway. Even with the opening of the famous Harbour Bridge in 1932, that came to redefine the character of the harbour, the prominent nearby headland of Bennelong Point, was not the only potential site for a proposed Opera House. The idea itself of building an Opera House and the actual eventual choice of location were the result of both creative and political vision, ambition and a leap of faith.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPolitics in the History of Architecture as Cause and Consequence. Proceedings of AARCHIST 2013 Conference
EditorsE. Duyan, C. Ozturkcan
Place of PublicationIstanbul
PublisherDAKAM Publishing
ISBN (Print)97860545410308
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013


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