The Sydney Opera House is a multi-venue performing arts centre on Bennelong Point in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. It is one of the world's most distinctive 20th century buildings, and one of the most famous performing arts centres in the world. Contrary to the implication of the name, the building houses several separate venues rather than a single opera theatre, the two main venues, the Opera Theatre and the Concert Hall, being defined by the two larger shells.
The Sydney Opera House is an expressionist modern design, with a series of large precast concrete 'shells', each taken from a hemisphere of the same radius, forming the roofs of the structure, set on a monumental podium. The building covers 1.8 hectares (4.5 acres) of land, and is 183 metres (605 ft) long and 120 metres (388 ft) wide at its widest point. It is supported on 588 concrete piers sunk up to 25 metres below sea level. Its power supply is equivalent to that of a town of 25,000 people, and is distributed by 645 kilometres of electrical cable.
The roofs of the House are covered in a subtle chevron pattern with 1,056,006 glossy white and matte cream Swedish-made tiles, though from a distance the shells appear a brilliant white. Despite their self-cleaning nature, the tiles are still subject to periodic maintenance and replacement.
The Concert Hall is contained within the western group of shells, the Opera Theatre within the eastern group. The scale of the shells was chosen to reflect the internal height requirements, rising from the low entrance spaces, over the seating areas and up to the high stage towers. The minor venues (Drama Theatre, Playhouse, and The Studio) are located beneath the Concert Hall, as part of the western shell group. A much smaller group of shells set to one side of the Monumental Steps houses the Bennelong Restaurant. Although the roof structures of the Sydney Opera House are commonly referred to as shells (as they are in this article), they are in fact not shells in a strictly structural sense, but are instead precast concrete panels supported by precast concrete ribs.
Apart from the tile of the shells, and the glass curtain walls of the foyer spaces, the building's exterior is largely clad with aggregate panels composed of pink granite quarried in Tarana. Significant interior surface treatments also include off-form concrete, Australian white birch plywood supplied from Wauchope in northern New South Wales, and brush box glulam.
Architect: Jørn Utzon