The Sydney Opera House has revealed designs for a $202 million refurbishment of the World Heritage-listed site.
The largest works program since it opened 43 years ago includes an upgrade the acoustics, accessibility and flexibility of the the Concert Hall, transforming office space into a new Creative Learning Centre, for children and families, replacing the marque currently permanently sited on the northern terrace with a permanent function centre inside the building and removing cars from the entrance under the monumental steps, as well as upgrades to the foyer.
The NSW government is picking up the tab for the upgrades through its Cultural Infrastructure Fund. The works will be staged over the next 4.5 years.
Sydney Opera House CEO Louise Herron called her workplace a “masterpiece of human creative genius” that’s “central to our identity as Australians”.
“These renewal projects are designed to ensure the Opera House continues to evolve, welcoming and inspiring people,” she said
“So much of what the Opera House does today could not have been envisaged when it was first conceived and built.:
The upgrade to the concert hall will see it closed for 18 months, with work expected to begin in mid-2019 before the space reopens in early 2021.
The adjacent Joan Sutherland Theatre, where opera is staged, will close for seven months from May 2017, as part of $45 million in self-funded projects, which include replacing the “engine” in the Opera House’s second-largest performance space.
Here’s the video walk-through of the changes:
The Opera House’s five other performance stages, along with its food and beverage outlets, tours and on-site facilities will remain open.
Architect Jan Utzon, son of the building’s original designer Jørn Utzon, is a member of the Eminent Architects Panel (EAP) overseeing the upgrades.
“When my father was re-engaged to look into the Opera House, he realised it was necessary to look at the Opera House with new eyes,” Utzon said.
While there was a bitter falling out between the NSW government and the architect, who designed the building 60 years ago and resigned during construction in 1996, there was a reconciliation three decades later when Utzon was re-engaged to consult on the future of the Opera House in 1999. Utzon died in 2008, having never stepped inside his Australian masterpiece, but his son carries on his legacy.
“He realised times had changed and that a functioning arts centre will always need to adapt to the culture of the moment,” Jan Utzon said.
Here are some artist’s impressions of how the Opera House refurbishments will look.
The creative learning centre is for kids aged 5-18, including weekend talks, performances and programs for families
The SOH says it wants to realise Jørn Utzon’s vision for art in this space through digital art walls
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