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  • 6th June 2022

Sydney Opera House BUILD gets underway

Ove Arup Foundation’s support for the three-part Sydney Opera House BUILD programme has come to fruition, with the pilot Tertiary Built Environment Creative Lab seeing students tackle a future-facing design challenge by collaborating in interdisciplinary teams.

Emma Moore, a second-year architecture student from Western Sydney University, reported back on her experiences at Sydney Opera House (SOH), a building she had never previously entered. Her full account is available here.

The programme Emma attended gave 60 students studying various disciplines a holistic understanding of the creation of the Opera House, explaining the forces of chance, politics and creativity that made Jørn Utzon’s vision a reality.

Moore reports: “I learned of the intertwined relationship between architect and engineer at the heart of the design of the Opera House.”

At the heart of the Tertiary Lab was a future-facing design challenge that asked how climate change may affect SOH and surroundings in 2030.

“Throughout the programme we heard from experts to understand inclusive and accessible design, First Nations perspectives, human movement, our own ethics and values, as well as the Utzon and Hall Design Principles and how they shaped SOH. It showed me the importance of how architectural and design solutions need to encompass the land’s significance.”

Acoustics were demonstrated through a live instrumental ensemble from the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. They performed in various spaces within the Opera House to highlight how space can be designed to express the richness of tone colour within the melodies being played.

SOH accessibility manager Janelle Ryan introduced students to the experience of someone with a visual impairment. “We realised we had to convey the emotion, texture, colour and atmosphere of the space, through embellished yet concise language. We learned how buildings and the Opera House will never be complete. People’s needs will always shift.”

“The 10 days I spent learning about the Sydney Opera House have forever changed and influenced my outlook on my surroundings and my own design practice. I hope many more students get this opportunity like I did so they too can fully appreciate the words of Jørn Utzon, ‘when you pass around it or see it against the sky… something new goes on all the time… together with the sun, the light and the clouds, it makes a living thing’.”

Read Emma Moore’s full report here.

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