The Sydney Opera House is getting a $24 million facelift and – even more interestingly – the original architect is going to advise on the project. When I first visited the Opera House last year, I was amused to hear the story of Joern Utzon and how he angrily abandoned the project after years of fighting with the government. Since he left before the inside was finished (and took all his plans with him), the builders had to figure out what to do with the interiors themselves. And that’s the whole problem, you see. The inside is crap. It’s just so 1970’s. The main decorative element inside is “exposed concrete”, which gives the entire space that lovely “Barbican” feel. (For you non-Brits, that’s the gigantic concrete arts complex in London. More modern architecture at its very worst.) The actual furnishings are all wood paneling and shag carpeting. Really, the interior of the building is the aesthetic opposite of the exterior. So that’s why it’s such a great thing that Utzon is finally coming back to fix some of the more egregious errors. I can’t wait to see it.
(Incidentally, I went to the Sydney Morning Herald to see if I could find the official story about this. It wasn’t on the home page, so I used their search box. Sure enough, I found the story, which had been published yesterday. But get this! They tried to charge me a dollar to read it! For an article from yesterday! That’s ridiculous.)