Architecture: The Regeneration of the Sydney Opera House

January: 2020: We may look back on November 2019 as being the exact moment the Sydney Opera House phase-shifted into a new era. Perhaps we might mark the old era ending in September of 2011 when Allen Toussaint, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band & Jon Cleary placed their performances, metaphorically, within the bars, streets and recording studios of New Orleans to express how music was crucial to the city’s regeneration in the wake of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, alerting us to the increasing fragility of cities.

BLADE RUNNER was released in 1982. The story was time shifted forward into November 2019. The movie’s themes of environmental destruction, extinction of animals and the impact of robotics and artificial intelligence have proved sadly prescient. The L.A. Times obituary of Syd Mead, who died on New Year’s Eve 2019, commented upon the impact of the architecture, interiors and industrial designs he created for BLADE RUNNER, but was illustrated by a still from the sequel, a ruined Las Vegas, with a blood red sky inspired by a photograph of the Sydney Opera House blanketed by red dust in 2009, so much like now with fires turning skies red around Australia..

Jorn Utzon’s design for the Opera House quoted ancient structures used for the ritual re-enactment of timeless myths … Mayan platforms, Asian temples, Gothic cathedrals. A new era requires a different approach to the transmission of myths, not being lifted up to release us from the concerns of everyday life and entering a magical, mythical realm but a hard, unflinching gaze upon reality. In completing the Opera House Peter Hall sought to connect it to the “spirit of the times”. The Concert Hall he designed is due to close in a few weeks for an upgrade, temporarily placing more emphasis on outdoor performances, metaphorically bringing us back to earth, taking the Opera House out into the world, and looking to the arts to help us sustain hope and find magic as we bear witness to the horrors around us and join together to renew the world. ..

BLADERUNNER 2049 Las Vegas / Sydney Opera House 2009

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