THE ENCYCLOPAEDIC REACH OF MY SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE BOOK.
(Image: Walsh Bay from Dawes Point by Reg Mombassa)
The Opera House’s renewal is happening within a citywide renewal that I cover in my book. The expanding of the experiences at the cultural institutions around the city is connecting them up as if there’s a force field being generated. Just as Arup ongoing engineering projects at the Opera House have a component that draws out the art in engineering, sometimes in direct collaboration with artists, the foundation is set for an equally fascinating collaboration in the Walsh Bay precinct between Hassell and the Sydney Theatre Company,
When Andrew Upton and Cate Blanchett were co-directors of the Sydney Theatre Company they brought in sustainable infrastructure through a collaboration with university researchers and threaded this through their entire artistic and administrative process, even through into considering how these concepts were diffused through the culture that playwrights draw from and audiences are part of. Hassell has come from the other direction, adding to their services of creating buildings with sustainable infrastructure a company called Freestate that “storyboards” the experiences within the projects they’re creating. They’re both working with the same tools. And they’re neighbours in Walsh Bay.
My book looked at a cycle that was ending, the technological cycle that began with architect Jorn Utzon and engineer Ove Arup pushing the analog computers of the early 1960s beyond their limits to calculate the geometry of the roof shells. Now there’s a different cycle starting but reporting it is different. It’s a matter of being watchful and capturing as much detail as possible while it’s all developing. It will make sense later but we will have lost that detail by then.
My book, with illustrations by Reg Mombassa, is available at editionsballard.etsy.com