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 7

THE AFTERMATH

While the accusations flew around Sydney and resonated throughout the international architecture community, the Opera House site itself was relatively uneventful. Construction continued apace. The tile lids were going up at 20 a day. On 5 April 1966, the topmost segment of the tallest roof was lifted into place. Lewis was amazed to see Ryan, the former Minister of Public Works, showing a group of 70 people around the project. 'I don't think he visited the site more than twice a year when he was in charge.' Lewis wrote to Zunz in May.

The Government was faced with the problem of sorting out Utzon's fees, collecting and reviewing his drawings and getting the Architects' Panel of Hall, Todd and Littlemore started on Stage 3.

When Hall took on the job, he was under the impression he would be carrying out designs that were well defined. Utzon, however, believed no one could complete his work and that he would be called back once the new team had failed. 'The Architect's creation is largely in his own mind. No person can copy it.'

Charlie Weatherburn, as deputy Government Architect, was sent to Bennelong Point to review the drawings. When he went down to the site to pick up the drawings, 'the cupboard was almost bare'.

The two final drawings from the Utzon office showing crucial details of the proposed seating in the Major Hall were missing. These drawings, numbers 1383 and 1385 drawn at the end of 1965, are today available in the Mitchell Archives in Sydney and show a numbered seating plan with 2,518 seats in front of the orchestra, without using the closed off orchestra pit which would have allowed additional seats. Drawn ¼ scale they show seat spacing of 2ft 5in in the upper gallery and 2ft 7in in the lower auditorium.

On 31 May, Hall reported to the PWD that he was unable to find the

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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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