A Celebration of Sails

Sydney-Opera-House-shellAccording to the latest news – tonight is the 40th birthday celebration of the Sydney Opera House, an iconic Australian landmark which has been described as one of the 20th Century’s “Wonders of the World“.  So, I thought I would share with you, an image from the family’s vault of slides (converted) to digital showing some ‘work in progress’ on its construction, taken on a family holiday prior to 1973. The building is of modern expressionist design and sits overlooking Sydney harbour and another iconic Australian structure – the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Crown Prince Frederick of Denmark and his wife Princess Mary (an Australian) are special guests at the 40th birthday celebration, representing the Danish contribution to the original design concept and winner of an international design competition, in 1957.  The Opera House’s designer was Danish architect Jørn Utzon, who was not present at the initial opening of the Opera House on 20th October 1973.   Apparently, Utzon’s design was rescued from a final cut of 30 “rejects” by the noted Finnish architect Eero Saarinen. 

Utzon received the Pritzker Prize, architecture’s highest honour, in 2003. The Pritzker Prize citation read: “There is no doubt that the Sydney Opera House is his masterpiece. It is one of the great iconic buildings of the 20th century, an image of great beauty that has become known throughout the world – a symbol for not only a city, but a whole country and continent”. It became one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites on 28th  June, 2007.

According to statistics on Wikipedia:

  • More than 7 million people visit the Opera House every year, with 300,000 people participating annually in a guided tour of the building.
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