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Sydney, conference on the construction of the Opera House

SOH Veduta aerea
SOH Veduta aerea

The Italian Cultural Institute in Sydney will organise a meeting on 9 May focusing on Paolo Stracchi and Luciano Cardellicchio‘s multi-year research project entitled Vele, Piovre e Gru Telescopiche: la costruzione dell’Opera House di Sydney” (Sails, Octopuses and Telescopic Cranes: the Construction of the Sydney Opera House).

Over the last 50 years, the Sydney Opera House has been widely celebrated for its architectural beauty and the well-known controversies between the personalities involved in its creation. However, relatively little attention has been paid to the complex construction decisions behind its iconic roof consisting of shells in the form of boat sails. Since 2021, Paolo Stracchi from the University of Sydney, Luciano Cardellicchio from the University of New South Wales and Paolo Tombesi from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne have been studying the construction site’s original  minutes, various technical reports and a series of 5,000 recently found preparatory drawings in order to fill this gap.

In their lecture, Stracchi and Cardellicchio will shed light on the key role played by the Australian General Contractor in the design process and innovative construction techniques and methods used in building the Sydney Opera House. Their idea is that cultural ideas, as well as technical details, should be taken into account when revisiting architectural history.

The results of this research have recently been published in prestigious international magazines including Casabella and L’Architecture d’Aujourd’hui.



* Aerial photo of the construction site. In the foreground, the west façade of the roofing sails of the great hall and the prefabricated segment storage areas around the podium. (Photographer: Robert Baudin for Hornibrook Limited. Credits: Australian Air Photos)




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