Building a Masterpiece: The Sydney Opera House

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Anne Jeanette Watson
Powerhouse Publishing, 2006 - Architecture - 191 pages
Half a century has passed since Australia's New South Wales government launched a competition to give Sydney a new music and performance centre. The result of that competition is the magnificent Sydney Opera House designed by the visionary Danish architect Jørn Utzon (b.1918) and the starting point for Building a Masterpiece: The Sydney Opera House.When construction began, few could have imagined the enduring impact that Utzon's creation would have on Sydney, nor indeed Australia. But any great feat of imagination and ingenuity creates sub-plots, and the Opera House, perhaps more than any other twentieth-century structure of its stature, has generated many.Building a Masterpiece explores the many untold chapters in the long history of the Opera House's gestation, development and completion - of individuals whose careers were made or broken by the Opera House, the companies whose reputations were secured through their association with the building, and the pioneering construction methods, innovative technologies and methodologies developed to meet the demands of its unprecedented design and challenging construction. The workers who built the building, the politicians, architects and members of the public who championed it and its often beleaguered architect are discussed too as is its current world status as a symbol of Australia.Comprising an introduction and ten engaging essays, written by eminent authors and experts in the field, this comprehensive and richly illustrated book offers a unique account of the Sydney Opera House and is essential reading for anyone wishing to gain fresh insights into the complex history of this iconic building.

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Foreword by Jørn Utzon
reflections on the Sydney Opera House
genesis and conclusion of a competition

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About the author (2006)

Anne Watson is Curator of Architecture and Design at the Powerhouse Museum. She has written and lectured widely on many aspects of nineteenth- and twentieth-century design. Her publications include: Decorative arts and design from the Powerhouse Museum (Powerhouse Publishing, Sydney, 1991) as a contributing author, Beyond architecture: Marion Mahony and Walter Burley Griffin in America, Australia and India (Powerhouse Publishing, 1998) as content editor and contributing author; Visions of a republic: the work of Lucien Henry (Powerhouse Publishing, 2000) as a contributing author; and Mod to Memphis: design in colour 1960s-80s (Powerhouse Publishing, 2002).

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