The Sydney Opera House has revealed designs for a $202 million renovation project, the largest upgrade program to the Jørn Utzon-designed building since it opened in 1973. Announced by New South Wales Deputy Premier and Minister for the Arts, Troy Grant, the project’s main goal is to “improve access and ensure it meets the needs and expectations of audiences, artists and the 8.2 million people who visit each year.”
The Opera House is already one of Australia’s premier tourist destinations and performing arts centers, contributing $775 million annually to the NSW economy and a national-identity value of $4.6 billion. The renovation project is expected to preserve the icon and improve its functionality to meet its increasing popularity as a tourist attraction.
The $202 million dollars has been allocated from the Cultural Infrastructure Fund and will go towards upgrading and improving existing facilities, as well as transforming existing space for new functions. The NSW Government has outlined four main areas for renewal:
- Upgrade the acoustics, accessibility, efficiency and flexibility of the Opera House’s largest internal performance space, the Concert Hall, which hosts world-leading classical and contemporary musicians, speakers and other performers;
- Transform office space into a new Creative Learning Centre, a dedicated place for children, families and young people;
- Remove the existing intrusive marquee from the Northern Broadwalk, and build a premium Function Centre within the building envelope, with spectacular views of the harbour; and
- Create a welcoming, car-free entrance under the Monumental Steps, and improve access to a more comfortable and inviting main foyer.
“When my father was re-engaged to look into the Opera House, he
it was necessary to look at the Opera House with new eyes,” said Jan Utzon, son of Jørn, himself an architect and member of the Opera House’s Eminent Architects Panel. “He
times had changed and that a functioning arts
will always need to adapt to the culture of the moment.”
Perhaps the most important renovation will be to the main concert hall, which will be redesigned
Melbourne-based ARM Architecture. In its current form, the acoustics of the hall had been described as“hideous.”
More information on the project can be found here.