October 23, 2013


As far as iconic buildings go, the Opera House is up there with the Empire State Building, the Eiffel Tower and Bilbao’s Guggenheim museum. Every time I get a glimpse of Jørn Utzon’s expressionist masterpiece, a thrill of recognition and inspiration goes up my spine. Audacious, it summed up the optimism of the 1960s and pushed Sydney onto the world stage for the first time since settlement. In terms of architectural innovation, the cupped ‘shells’ pushed precast concrete to the limit of its capabilities, the glass curtain wall of the foyer was revolutionary and the off-form concrete interior still amazes me to this day. Yes, it’s the 40th anniversary of an icon – and oversized cupcakes aside, it is a moment of great joy and pride for me, and for every architect practicing in the country today To mark the moment, the Powerhouse museum has released a revised and updated version of its book, Building A Masterpiece which features some fantastic black and white images by that other Australian icon, photographer Max Dupain.

Author: Nick tobias