Saturday, January 29, 2011


Sydney was great. I went on a tour of the Opera House which was amazing. It's incredible what they achieved at that time. Jorne Utzton designed it, inspired by peeling an orange and then they had to make up the technology to build it which took three years (just to work out the engineering!). Utzton was the son of a naval engineer and this really shows in the ship like interiors of the opera house. The total project took sixteen years and during that time the Sydney government changed and they stopped paying Utzton so that he was forced to resign. They then employed a troupe of Sydney architects to finish the job. It took them years to work out what Utzton had already designed, so the government did not save themselves much. Does this sound familiar to anyone? Poor old Utzton never got to see the finished work but now there is a room at the Opera House dedicated to him and his son came to see that. Utzton was 82 at the time and could not travel. He has won a Pritzker prize for the Opera House and it has been declared a world heritage sight. The Opera House was opened in 1973.

When I first arrived in Sydney we stayed in North Sydney which is a really pleasant area, not least because you can take the train across the Harbour Bridge on the way to getting there. When we returned to Sydney we stayed in Kings Cross which is quite busy. My favourite area was the Rocks so called because the buildings are built in and around the rocks of the harbour edge. There are some very atmospheric pubs here. We took a ferry to Manly which was beautiful. We had a beer looking over the sea and then on the return journey watched Sydney at night get bigger and bigger as we approached. I went running barefoot along the botanical gardens towards the Opera House with views of the Harbour Bridge all the way. What a beautiful run!

North Sydney, a church with a skyscraper back drop

View from the Manly ferry

Another Manly ferry view

Manly approach

English colonial buildings, lots of these in Melbourne too

Sydney Harbour Bridge and lots of runners

Me in front of the Opera House

Utzton designed the building to reflect the water

Really beautiful details

Windows frame the view

This ceiling kind of opens up and serenades you

Even the boring old circulation routes are exciting spaces

Who said concrete was boring? This is eventually how they solved the problem of how on earth to build the opera house, they pre cast segments of a sphere to all have the same radius and then craned into place. This photos is kind of an expression of that process.

Its a really great public space

This is the view from my run along the Botanical Gardens

A building 'growing' out of the rocks

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