What is so special about Sydney Opera House?

I finally got down to finishing my last post on my Sydney Trip. This post took me quite sometime to pin down. Why did the sight of Opera House bring me so much pleasure? I have often asked myself. I have spent many mornings, afternoons and evenings looking at this building. In this post I attempt to answer my question.

Day 7 #Sydney

Today was our last day in Sydney. Tomorrow we fly back home. We had to go and see the Opera House. No trip to Sydney can ever be complete without a trip to the Sydney Opera House.

With the ferry terminal at our doorstep we decided to take the ferry to the Circular Quay where the Opera house and the Sydney Harbour Bridge is.

Australia has blue water. The colour is intense and deep it often reminds me of blue sapphires. It is absolutely captivating.

As we boarded the boat the sun was bright in the mid day sky. The reflecting moving river surface was sparkling as if it had been sprayed with tiny diamonds.

The sun right in my face, burning and blinding. As I shaded my eyes and looked out I could see the river bank dotted with yachts and boats of various sizes. The houses; big and small, old and new, red brick and brightly coloured, high on the river bank; all looking down to the silently flowing river. I couldn’t help but wonder how blessed the occupants were. Every morning they woke up to a sun rise of beautiful shades of orange and red as the light broke the darkness of the night. I had witnessed this from my apartment window for the last few mornings.

I anxiously waited on the deck. My eyes glued to signs of the city as they appeared to get closer. The tall architecturally smart buildings – all signs of modern life.

As the boat approached the city the Sydney Harbour Bridge became visible. My eyes still searched. The boat turned ever so slightly and there it was. The Sydney Opera House.

I have often asked myself what is that excites the heart with this sight? Every time I look at it I feel intense happiness, an excitement that is almost childlike.

This timeless piece of art is built on a sacred site and its sculptural elegance is hard to miss. A blend of ancient and modernist influences, it is an indisputable masterpiece of human creativity.

An epic piece of architecture I must say. It is as mesmerising as a sculpture fashioned by Michelangelo or a painting by Leonardo De Vinci. It feels like one is standing in the art gallery and is awe struck.

We got down at the Harbour and walked to the Sydney Opera House. We walked surrounded by a storm of tourists. I think I do not exaggerate when I say it was a slow moving storm which gravitated to the building. Stop, pause, marvel and take a few pictures. Repeat as one got closer.

I had read on the internet that the architect Utzon was inspired by the sandstone heads at the entrance to Sydney Harbour and believed that the entrance to this building should be similar to them. One would have to look upwards and, only at the last minute, get a magnificent view.

To achieve this he made a 100 meters wide staircase which takes one to the plateau on the top. This gives a feeling of moving upwards, of being liberated from the mundane of daily life, of being transported into another world, a very tranquil world. Strange as it sounds as the place is always hustling and bustling with tourists taking pictures after pictures as if one could never be enough.

The most attractive feature is the white tiles on the roof designed to look like the sails on a ship. The architect well understood the importance of this huge white sculpture surrounded by the blue sea. For this very reason he is said to have spent twelve intense months developing the tiles. His design was inspired by a Chinese tradition in ceramic firing, for a glass-like finish.

The white tiles catch and mirror the sky with all its varied lights, dawn to dusk, day to day, throughout the year.

The citation from the American architect Louis Kahn describes it aptly

The sun did not know how beautiful its light was, until it was reflected off this building.

No words can truly appreciate all the architectural uniqueness and aesthetic pleasure of these gleaming white tiled shells.

My mind cannot help but continue to ponder over the ingenuity of the architect. The Opera House embodies within its structure the integration of sophisticated geometry, technology and art. It epitomises the extraordinary creative potential of mankind.

Can a building build the image of an entire country? I ask myself. My first introduction to Australia as a child was through the images of this building. It has left a lasting impression on my mind. For me it’s beautiful form has been synonymous with inspiration and imagination of Australian people.

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