Sydney Opera House

State Records is fortunate in holding several series that can be seen as ‘founding documents’ for the iconic Sydney Opera House. These include the original competition drawings submitted by Utzon in 1956, and the more detailed plans and sketches compiled in 1958 (known as the “Red Book”).

The two versions of the west elevation for the building show how the external appearance changed from a lower-rise profile to the eventual familiar shape; while the second image from the Red Book gives an indication of the importance of experimental sketching and drawing as the project progressed from concept to detailed design.

Source: NRS 12825 Public Works: Competition drawings submitted by Jørn Utzon to the Opera House Committee, 1956. West elevation [SZ 112]. NRS 12707 Public Works: “Sydney National Opera House” (“Red Book”), March 1958. West elevation Sketch [SZ 107]

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