Sydney Opera House: Success or failure? Point-of-view 1: Of course the Sydney Opera House is a disaster. Building started in 1959 and by 1961 it was already 47 weeks behind schedule. Disagreement with a new government meant that Utzon, its original designer, left the project in 1966 due to a lack of payments and a lack of collaboration and he later famously described the situation as "Malice in Blunderland". The designs changed for the worse in terms of the cladding to the podium and the paving; the construction of the glass walls; and the interior where Utzon's plywood corridor designs, and his acoustic and seating designs for the interior of both halls, were scrapped completely. What a laugh - the major hall which was originally to be a multipurpose opera and concert hall, became solely a concert hall and the minor hall, originally for stage productions only, had the added function of opera to deal with and two more theatres were also added. This completely changed the layout of the interiors. More importantly Utzon considered acoustics from the start of design. These designs were subsequently modeled and found to be acoustically perfect. As such the current internal organization is sub-optimal with users’ criticizing the acoustics. Surely a basic necessity you might think! The plastic rings that hang from the ceiling in the concert hall are intended to improve acoustics but sound is always a problem. Under Utzon's original design they would have not been needed. The Opera House was formally completed in 1973, at a cost of $102 million. The original cost estimate in 1957 was $7 million. The original completion date set by the government was 1963. ‘On time: On budget’ what a joke! And it is not even to specification. What a disaster! Point-of-view 2: The Sydney Opera House is one of the most distinctive and famous modern buildings and an excellent setting for the performing arts. It is one of the architectural wonders of the world, perhaps the best known building of the 20th century with its design and construction involving countless innovative design ideas and construction techniques. It is an iconic Australian image and a major tourist attraction, yet is a superb venue with a Concert Hall, Opera Theatre, Drama Theatre, Playhouse, and Studio Theatre. The basic design that was accepted in 1955 of Jørn Utzon, was fantastic, and the changes made have not detracted from this excellence. It was a wonderful logo and emblem for the Sydney 2000 Olympics. Surely nobody but the coldest hearts can deny that the Sydney Opera House is a most magnificent success.
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