Wendy and I are currently in Australia visiting her parents who live on Sydney’s Manly beach. The easiest way to get to Manly from downtown is via the ferry – which happens to give you a phenomenal view of the Sydney Opera House. Sadly, just after we got here we learned that John Utzon, the architect behind the building, had passed away at 90. The obituary in the Economist eloquently captured the beauty of his masterpiece:
What he wanted for Sydney was the effect he had noticed when tacking round the promontory at Elsinore, of the castle’s piled-up turrets against the piled-up clouds and his own billowing white sails; the liberation he had felt on the great platforms of the Mayan temples in Mexico, of being lifted above the dark jungle into another world of light; the height and presence of Gothic cathedrals, whose ogival shape was to show in the cross-sections of the Sydney roof-shells; and the curved, three-dimensional rib-work of boat-building, as he had watched his own father doing it at Aalborg. The load-bearing beams of the Opera House shells he called spidsgattere, in homage to the sharp-sterned boats his father made.
Here are some photos I snapped from the ferry; I leave it up to you to decide whether his building achieved his dream: