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Sydney Opera House: an annotated list of sources & services



Art in Australia, Vol 11, no-3, Jan/Mar 1974. A special issue on the architecture and art collection of the Sydney Opera House including John Coburn Curtain of the Sun and Curtain of the Moon, Loudon Sainthill costume and set designs, Donald Friend Bennelong series.  

Baume, Michael. The Opera House [letter to the editor]. Quadrant May/Jun 1968:65-67.  

Baume, Michael, The Utzonites and me. Quadrant, Sep/Oct 1967: 5-10

Chiu Chen-Yu, Peter Myers and Philip Goad. Chinese Colours and the Sydney Opera House (1956–1966): Jørn Utzon’s Reinterpretation of Traditional Chinese Architecture in Journal of Design History, 11 December 2013. Abstract: Throughout his life, Danish architect Jørn Utzon (1918–2008) was obsessed with traditional Chinese architecture, which played a crucial role in his colour schemes for the Sydney Opera House (1956–1966). However, current scholarship has not yet provided a detailed and rigorous discussion of Utzon’s deliberate analogies with Chinese colours. This article seeks to clarify Utzon’s artistic debt to China, by closely examining his colour proposals for the Sydney Opera House. Utzon’s Opera House colours represent a unique matrix of cultural dissemination and transformation between China, Scandinavia and Australia; a subtle manifestation of cross-cultural influence and mastery of design within the history of modern architecture. This article contributes to the potentially rich historiography on the relationship between Utzon’s designs for the Sydney Opera House and his own growing understanding of traditional Chinese architecture. We contend that traditional Chinese architecture functioned as an impetus to confirm Utzon’s unique design convictions. The scope of this article is to understand Utzon’s Sydney Opera House as a significant example of cross-cultural dissemination and transformation between China, Scandinavia and Australia within the history of modern architecture. Link:

Duek-Cohen, Elias. Sydney Opera House: background information, being responses to questions put forward for an Architecture and Art Cultural Heritage Sites project directed at school children in the USA as part fo Multicultural Print Series by the Getty Education Institute for the Arts, July 1997.

Duek-Cohen, Elias. Utzon’s opera house: the unfulfilled dream: unpublished article intended as submission to Bob Carr and Peter Collins, March 1996.

Filmer, Andrew. The Sydney Opera House: design, history and theatrical haunting. In Patronage, spectacle, and the stage, edited by Irene Eynat-Confino and Eva Sormova. Prague: Theatre Institute, 2006 (pages132-141).

Flyvbjerg, Bent. Design by deception: the politics of megaproject approval. Harvard Design Magazine, Spring/Summer 2005 (pages 50-59). Compares approvals and cost estimates for the Sydney Opera House with the Guggenheim Bilbao Museum, among other projects, to argue that large projects best succeed in designing a fantasy world of underestimated costs, overestimated revenues, overvalued local development effects and underestimated environmental impacts.

Gardiner, Stephen. Utzon still unhappy about the Opera House. The Bulletin, 8 August 1978:39-40.

Hoad, Brian. The Opera house’s forgotten few. The Bulletin, 1 Sep 1973:42-43..

Hubble, Ava. An interview with the architect of the Sydney Opera House, Jørn Utzon. Sydney Opera House monthly diary magazine June 1978:1-7. Includes reference to Utzon museum.

Myers, Peter. Une histoire inachevée. [with translation]. L’Architecture d’Aujourf’hui no 285, 1992

Parsons, Philip. Radical v. conservative architecture: the ruin of Utzon’s audacious vision. Meanjin Quarterly no 3, 1967:339-357,

Popov. Alex. Utzon. Includes photographs of Kuwait National Parliament, Bagsvaerd Church and other Utzon projects. Monument No 11

Power, John. The continuing story of the Opera House affair. Quadrant, Nov/Dec 1967:65-77

Power, John. Opera House, outrage and objectivity. Quadrant, Jul/Aug 1967:5-16.

Power, John, The Opera House. [letter to the editor]. Quadrant Jul/Aug 1968:95-96.

Rice, Peter. A celebration of the life and work of Ove Arup. RSA Journal June 1989: 425-437.

Sten-Møller, Henrik. Can Lis: Jørn Utzon’s own house – a house built of sea, sky, light and spirit. and of course, stone. Living Architecture no 8:146-167.

Sten-Møller, Henrik. Jørn Utzon on architecture: a conversation with Henrik Sten-Møller. Living Architecture no 8:168-173

Zunz, Jack. The Sydney Opera House crisis as I see it. Ove Arup & Partners newsletter [citation to be completed]

Zunz, Jack. Sydney revisited. The Arup Journal, vol 23 no 1 Spring 1988:2-11




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