The Saga of the Sydney Opera House: The Dramatic Story of the Design and Construction of the Icon of Modern Australia

By Peter Murray | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 8

ARS LONGA, VITA BREVIS

The 'Unseen Utzon' exhibition in 1995 gave new heart to the 'Bring Back Utzon' campaign. Included in the show were some of Utzon's original drawings of the interiors. The implication was that if these drawings had been 'seen' then Utzon's interiors could have been completed. Although the drawings were unseen as far as the general public was concerned, some of them had certainly been seen by Peter Hall in 1966.

Also in the exhibition were computer-generated images created by Philip Nobis, a postgraduate student at Sydney University of Technology, which suggested Utzon's designs for the halls could be built, leading Duek Cohen and others to suggest that the interiors designed by Hall be replaced with Utzon's sweeping plywood ceilings and radial layouts. The exhibition gave new impetus to the debate on Utzon's interiors and was one of the reasons behind the decision in 1999 by the Opera House Trust to appoint Utzon as a consultant to prepare his statement of Design Principles in conjunction with the Sydney architect Richard Johnson, with the aim of ensuring that future changes to the building should, according to the Sydney Opera House Trust, reflect 'the integrity of Jørn Utzon's vision for the building'. In the years since the resignation, Utzon's view of Arup has mellowed. In the Principles he writes: '…I was pushed aside as architect for the job. Luckily Ove Arup stayed on the job; otherwise it would never have been completed.'

In May 2002, the NSW Premier, Bob Carr, announced the allocation of A$45million for major improvements to the Opera House, which involved: the enlargement of the orchestra pit and refurbishment of the auditorium of the Opera Theatre; providing the infrastructure for the use of the forecourt area as a sixth venue; improvements to the acoustics of the Concert Hall; and, refurbishing the Western Broadwalk, the foyer and the Reception Hall. Coincidentally, the name of the project manager

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The Saga of the Sydney Opera House: The Dramatic Story of the Design and Construction of the Icon of Modern Australia
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Dramatis Personae ix
  • Important Dates xii
  • Introduction xv
  • Chapter 1 - A Magnificent Doodle 1
  • Chapter 2 - Collaboration and Creativity 23
  • Chapter 3 - The Move to Sydney 39
  • Chapter 4 - A Quart into a Pint Pot 52
  • Chapter 5 - The Turn of the Screw 72
  • Chapter 6 - 'You Have Forced Me to Leave' 92
  • Chapter 7 - The Aftermath 115
  • Chapter 8 - Ars Longa, Vita Brevis 136
  • Bibliography 157
  • Index 160
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