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Sydney Opera House

During our time in Australia we had the chance to see some amazing architecture from controversial skyscrapers to the famous Sydney Opera House. The Sydney Opera house was designed by Jorn Utzon, a danish architect. The New South Wales government decided to hold a contest for the design. The judges narrowed the contestants down to three finalists, none of whom were Jorn Utzon. The judges couldn't decide between the three so they gave all the designs to the architect Eero Saarinen, who after going through all the papers decided on Utzon's. The only problem with Utzon's design was the roof. Utzon never consulted anyone whether the roof was possible, but they started the project anyway.

The project was only supposed to take a total of six years for everything and cost AUS $7 million but Utzon had to spend the first three years trying to find the right angle for the roof. Eventually he used the pieces cut from a sphere to make a geometrically pleasing and possible design. As the project went on there were many set backs. It took five years to decide what to build the roof out of, it took almost fifteen years to complete the construction, and the budget was over by a whopping AUS$95 million, leaving the total price at AUS$102 million. Jorn Utzon was never able to see his creation in person. In 1966 a new government began questioning him and his costs, which eventually led to his resignation.

So, while the exterior of the building is mainly his design, the inside was left to other architects and their interpretations of what he left them. They did a great job with their difficult task. Many people say that Utzon's designs were inspired by the Aztec temples that he visited as an adult, and the shipyards that his father worked on. The interior of the building shows the Aztec influence, as you are able to walk up the shady steps and into a large space full of natural light which, Utzon found particularly interesting about the ancient temples. You can also see the shipyard influence in the slanted glass overlooking the harbor and the other sails, which makes you feel like you were in the bridge of a giant ship. The architecture is simply (or complexly) amazing.

I'm sure you're all wondering about the controversial skyscraper that I talked about in the beginning. Well, the story behind that begins with a Christian Scientist who designed the tallest building in the city of Melbourne. This building was perfectly fine and there was nothing wrong with it - but for one person there was something wrong with it: it wasn't his. To fix this he built his own building that was tall enough to be seen from the Royal Botanical Gardens. That was the controversial part. In the botanical garden there is a picture perfect scene of an old stone building with a small lake full of lilies and black swans. With this skyscraper being built, the scene has now become a clash of old and new with the pond. The building does add to the Melbourne skyline in a great way (if you aren't in the botanical gardens) and is just one of the many fabulous pieces of architecture that we saw.

Sorry for the delays in the blog posts! We have been without wifi for about a week in the Great Barrier Reef, which you will hear about in our next posts :)