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Australians celebrate 50 years of the Sydney Opera House

Australians celebrate 50 years of the Sydney Opera House

Australians on Friday celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Sydney Opera House, which has become one of the masterpieces of 20th-century world architecture. The laser show is to light up the ‘sails’ of the building located in Harbor Bay.

Fifty years ago, Queen Elizabeth II opened the concert hall, which has since been visited by around 11 million people a year.

But opera has a complex origin. Its architect, Dane Jorn Woodson, never set foot in the building he designed.

In 1956, he won a contest beating 232 candidates. The following year, he moved to Australia with his family and embarked on the project.

But in 1966, Bjorn Woodson left the building site, its shells almost finished, and left Australia after disagreements with the state Minister of Public Works over the project’s vision, budget and funding.

$7 to $102 million

Other architects completed the building, drastically changing its plans for the interior of the opera house. Jorn Woodson did not return to Australia. The original architect of the now iconic building in Copenhagen died in 2008.

The construction of this innovative building took 14 years, and its cost, initially estimated at 7 million Australian dollars, rose to 102 million. It was mostly funded by state lotteries.

In 2007, the Sydney Opera House was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, hailed as a ‘masterpiece of 20th century architecture’.

Interlocking vaulted ‘sails’ covered in more than a million Swedish-made tiles, two performance halls and a restaurant, rest on a vast concrete platform.