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 Jorn 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 20th 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.
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. Richard Weston is Professor of Architecture at Cardiff University, editor of the refereed journal Architectural Research Quarterly (arq) and director of the Richard Weston Studio design consultancy. Robert Geddes is an architect, teacher and urbanist. He is Dean Emeritus of the Princeton University School of Architecture; LUCE Professor Emeritus of Architecture, Urbanism and History at New York University; Fellow of the New York Institute for the Humanities and the National Academy of Design. Philip Drew, formerly a senior lecturer in architectural history, is a Sydney-based author and critic. He has written three books on Sydney Opera House. David Taffs is a Fellow of the Institutions of Civil and Structural Engineers and the British Computer Society. He joined Ove Arup & Partners in 1964 and was instrumental in developing software for engineering design applications. Matthew Connell is the senior curator of mathematics and computing at the Powerhouse Museum. Dr John Nutt AM retired as chairman of Ove Arup & Partners, Consulting Engineers, in Australasia in 1999, having helped establish the Sydney practice in 1963 after relocating from London to manage the Opera House construction. Philip Nobis is an architect based in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney, Australia. In 1994-95 he co-curated the Unseen Utzon exhibition at the Sydney Opera House with John Murphy of the State Library of NSW.