Sydney Opera House

* The design for the Sydney Opera House won the architect an award!

* The design could not be constructed!

* The original plan had a 4 year timetable and a AU $7 million budget, but in the end it took $102 million and 14 years to complete.


* In 1957 Australia’s government (the client) held a contest to select an architect to design its future National Opera House. The client’s prrimary focus was to showcase Australia’s creative and technical capabilities, and it set almost no parameters on the building’s cost or construction timeframe.

* In 1958, the winner of the competition, Jorn Utzon, presented his “Red Book” of the project, which contained details of some but not all of the elements of the overall project; such as designs, consultant reports, and varied plans. The “Red Book” was not a comprehensive working document for strategizing the construction of the building. And, despite the fact that Utzon clearly stated that he hadn’t finished the structural design, the client insisted on immediately beginning work on the project anyway. From there things went from bad to worse, with contributions to the growing debacle amassing over time.


* Not only did the project launch with no finalized plans to follow, but the client also changed the floor plan from two theaters to four shortly after construction began. Compounding the chaos that followed was the lack of a project manager. An ad hoc “partnership” between Utzon and the engineer, Ove Arup, handled “management” of the project assisted by a hastily assembled “team” of electrical, mechanical, and structural engineers.


* Not having a finalized design also meant not knowing how much the project would cost. Almost immediately upon its start, costs began to escalate, first with the change orders, and then with the discovery that the site surveys were wrong. The budget went uphill from there. Utzon’s vision divided the construction project into three segments: the podium, the outer shells, and the interiors and windows. By the end of stage one, a government monitoring committee was overseeing payments and had to withhold a few until it received proof of completion of actual work,


* By 1966, 7 years from the time it started and 4 years after the proposed completion date, the Opera House had not yet completed phase two. Utzon left in frustration, taking his design and plans with him. “Management” of the project fell to a committee of three Australian engineers, who did complete phase two by the end of 1967.

* However, because the next phase required an entirely new set of plans, the budget to fill out the construction then soared to AU $85 million. Another 4 years and an additional AU $17 million went by before the Opera House was finally completed in 1973 when Queen Elizabeth inaugurated it.



* Which supports and barriers were in play?

* What were the dynamics?

* Who, or what, won the Tug-of-War?

* Discuss the outcome with your friends and family.

* Use Post #4 as a reference for the dynamics, and the relationships, between the supports and barriers.