Friday, March 11, 2005

Utzon's Sydney Icon

The Museum of Sydney. March, 2005.

Last weekend Mikey and I went to see the exhibition The Studio of Jørn Utzon: Creating the Sydney Opera House at the Museum of Sydney. It was the first time I had ever set foot inside the Museum of Sydney and I can't say that I was all that impressed with the regular permanent collection (although I wouldn't grump "The worst museum ever!" as I overhead one British tourist say). The Utzon exhibition was excellent though, and worth every cent of the $7 cover to get into the museum.

Like millions of people the world over I absolutely love the Sydney Opera House building. When I was a teenager I was seriously considering becoming an architect, and to this day I have a love of buildings and architectural drawing that borders on the obssesive. I have been to quite a few perfomances at the Opera House, and one very poignant and beautiful memorial service for the partner of a friend of mine who died a few years back. The drama of the building and the beauty of the setting has to be seen close-up to really appreciate it. Few Sydney experiences are more beautiful than to stand outside the building on a warm summer's evening during the intermission of a great perfomance, and watch the lights of the ferries on the harbour and the cars crossing the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Enchanting.

The exhibition isn't huge, but has some very interesting models, drawings and diagrams that show the progress of the building, including the future changes that are to be made to add an outside loggia and new interior space that Utzon has designed. The original interior concepts for the halls are interesting (and no doubt would have avoided the current acoustic problems), and give a tease as to what the re-development of the interiors might be like when they are undertaken in the near future. It's also interesting to see how Utzon used inspiration from diverse sources such as Mayan temples and orange segments as inspiration.

More information on Utzon and his other works can be found here.

[If, like me, you are a bit obsessive about typing things like the ø letter correctly, try this list of numeric codes for ISO Latin-1 characters for html. Yes I'm a nerd.]

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