Saturday, June 20, 2020

The Bridge and the House

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We here in Oz love big things. I have even posted previously a series on big things in New South Wales: the Big Banana, the Big Pineapple, the Big Merino with his Big Cods, the Big Prawn, the Big Captain Cook . . . the list could go on. 

We also like to name things as being big: the Great Australian Bight, the Great Dividing Range, the Great White Shark, Great Ocean Road . . . nothing fancy either, just describe the item and stick the word Great in front of it.

It makes me surprised that we here in Sydney haven’t named the Bridge and the Opera House the Great Harbour Bridge and the Great Opera House. If it ever does happen, remember that I though of it first, the Great Idea.

The Bridge is locally known as The Coathanger, for obvious reasons. One can even buy souvenirs that reference both the shape and the nickname:

We do love our Coathanger here in Sydney:

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Like bacon and eggs, salt and pepper, sand and surf, brother and sister, the Bridge has a partner:

Officially opened in 1973, it’s hard to conceive of the location without the Opera House:

It’s also hard to imagine the Opera House looking different to how it appears now. The original design by Danish architect Joern Utzon incorporated different sails to those seen today:

After Utzon quit the project in 1966 as a result of escalating clashes with politicians and bureaucrats, the designs were modified to make them work.

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Which is all by way of a segue to an article I came across on an architecture website, Arch 20. It shows 7 designs that missed out in the design competition won by Utzon. The link to the site is at:

This is from that site:

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The 7 rejected proposals of The Sydney Opera House:

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1. Philadelphia Collaborative Group’s Design:

Second place in the competition went to this submarine-shaped opera house, created by an improvised team of seven designers in Philadelphia. Like the winning design, the structure was inspired by the seashell form and was to have utilised the latest techniques in the use of concrete.

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2. Paul Boissevain and Barbara Osmond’s Design

The Dutch-British team’s entry was rather conservative next to Marzella and Utzon’s concrete seashells, which is why it was consigned to third place in the contest. However, the judges were impressed with the human scale of the building and it’s promenade.

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3. Sir Eugene Goossen’s Design

Although never entered into the competition the design created by Sir Eugene Goossen could have been realised as the designer held substantial political sway. Gossen was not only the conductor of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra but also the director of the NSW State Conservatorium of Music and one of the key voices in demanding for an opera house to be built.

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4. Peter Kollar and Balthazar Korab’s Design

Refugees from the communist regime in Hungary, Kollar and Korab’s entry was the highest ranking entry from an Australian entity. The judges commented on the project’s “very skilful planning.”

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5. S. W. Milburn and Partners’ Design

Stanley Wayman Milburn and Eric Dow’s design was not so dissimilar from Boissevain and Osmond’s box-shape-with-promenade.

But Milburn and Dow tucked their promenade under the raised building and planted a helicopter pad up on the roof, presumably in case the conductor needed to get somewhere in a hurry.

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6. Vine and Vine’s Design

English company Vine and Vine’s sprawling opera house was made up of two auditoria, separated by a restaurant. Like many of their competitors, the Vines made provision for outdoor space – in their case with a sunken waterside plaza. But two auditoria was one too many for the judges, who consigned the company’s building, complete with vivid red faΓ§ade, to history.

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7. Kelly and Gruzen’s Design

This collaborative group’s entrance echoes the Vines’ with its sunken courtyards. But there’s also a certain Vegas-style pizzazz to the American team’s entry.

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Not bad then, Utzon's design, for something that has been likened to . . . 

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