The building is the Sydney Opera House which is World Heritage listed as “a masterpiece of human creative genius” and its sail like shape is recognisable world-wide as being synonymous with Sydney and Australia.
The unmistakable shape of the Sydney Opera House sails fit in with the building’s natural surroundings on Sydney Harbour. The design of the sails was a challenge until Architect Jorn Utzon delivered the “spherical solution” in the design of the sails where the ten roof sails were built from segments of the same sphere.
CONSERVATION OF THE STRUCTURE
A 2018 Report looked at three high priority areas for the development of the Conservation Management Plan thanks to a grant from the Getty Foundation:
The most recognisable part of the Opera House building, the sails are fully exposed to the marine environment, and could be vulnerable to water ingress should there be any failure in the ceramic tile skin, or in the grouting inside the post-tensioning ducts of the ribs. Regular inspections of accessible areas indicate that the condition of the protective system is good, however the Opera House is searching for new non-destructive testing methodologies that will enable the condition of the inaccessible interior of the sail structures to be monitored.
These steel-reinforced concrete structures at the base of the roof sails are completely exposed to the natural elements and to human touch. There is a particular impact from rainwater runoff, which causes erosion and biological growth on the structures. Protective coatings have been trialled in the past, and all have been rejected due to either being ineffective, or having an unacceptable architectural impact.
UNDER THE BROADWALKS
The Broadwalks are built on steel-reinforced concrete piles, which stand in the Harbour. The Western Broadwalk is fitted with cathodic protection, while the Northern and Eastern Broadwalks are not. The project studied the condition of the concrete under the Northern Broadwalk.
Ref; Sydney Opera House, Concrete Conservation Project, Final Report Summary, August 2018
THE DESIGN LIFE
The design life of the Sydney Opera House structure is 250 to 300 years.
Under the Conservation Management Plan after more than 50 years exposed to a marine environment and the impacts of millions of visitors, some specific areas of risk in the concrete re being monitored through a robust preventative and corrective maintenance program. It is timely to undertake closer analysis of the condition of the steel-reinforced concrete in the structure to ensure its longevity.
2000 SYDNEY OLYMPICS
As Sydney prepared to host the 2000 Olympics, the Opera House kicked off an Olympic Arts Festival with ‘Tubowgule’. To the sound of didgeridoos and clapping sticks, dancers evoked the celebrations and ceremonies that had occurred on Bennelong Point for thousands of years.
OUR FIRST NATIONS PEOPLE
The Sydney Opera House celebrates the richness of our First Nations people and their culture through its First Nations Program.
THE FIRST PERFORMANCE
The first performance at the Sydney Opera House was in 1960 when Paul Robeson climbed the scaffolding and sang Ol’ Man River to the construction workers as they ate lunch.
Video: Paul Robeson https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eg7bPgrosAE
The Sydney Opera House is featured in colour and music at the annual Vivid light spectacular in Sydney.
Video: Vivid Sydney 2019 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NnzO5U6zEvo
The Sydney Opera House is the cultural heart of Sydney with great ballet and opera performances by our own “La Stupenda” Dame Joan Sutherland and New Zealand’s Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Rudolf Nureyev and Dame Margot Fonteyn, Sir Robert Helpmann and the Australian Ballet………..and so on.
Video: The Best Performances of Dame Joan Sutherland from the Sydney Opera House https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XoZtnsJp0Zg