Opera House Competition Guidelines

Conditions and program for the International Competition of 1956.

By Sydney Opera House

Opera House Competition Guidelines, Page 1 (1956) by Government of the State of New South WalesSydney Opera House

A National Opera House

On 15 February 1956, New South Wales Premier Joe Cahill released a competition program and guidelines for “a National Opera House at Bennelong Point”.The idea for such a venue had been discussed for decades, yet it was not until the mid-50s that it gained enough political traction to become a reality. Cahill was encouraged by a delegation of cultural figures, including: the conductor of Sydney Symphony Orchestra and director of the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music, Sir Eugene Goossens; the orchestra’s first conductor, Sir Bernard Heinze; and members of the Faculty of Architecture at the University of New South Wales, Harry Ashworth and George Molnar.Known as the Brown Book, the competition guidelines represented the initial brief for the project, and while they would vary dramatically from the finished building, must have seemed like a tremendous opportunity to both aspiring and established architects the world over. Competitors were required to register for the competition by paying a fee of 10 Australian pounds, in response to which they were sent the Brown Book.The competition was open for 11 months, closing in December 1956. Judging began a few weeks later, in January 1957. Danish architect Jørn Utzon’s design was numbered 218 – one of the last of more than 220 entries received from 28 countries.

Opera House Competition Guidelines, Page 2 (1956) by Government of the State of New South WalesSydney Opera House

Opera House Competition Guidelines, Page 3, Government of the State of New South Wales, 1956, From the collection of: Sydney Opera House
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Opera House Competition Guidelines, Page 4, Government of the State of New South Wales, 1956, From the collection of: Sydney Opera House
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Opera House Competition Guidelines, Page 5, Government of the State of New South Wales, 1956, From the collection of: Sydney Opera House
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Opera House Competition Guidelines, Page 6, Government of the State of New South Wales, 1956, From the collection of: Sydney Opera House
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Opera House Competition Guidelines, Page 7, Government of the State of New South Wales, 1956, From the collection of: Sydney Opera House
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Opera House Competition Guidelines, Page 8, Government of the State of New South Wales, 1956, From the collection of: Sydney Opera House
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Opera House Competition Guidelines, Page 9, Government of the State of New South Wales, 1956, From the collection of: Sydney Opera House
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Opera House Competition Guidelines, Page 10 (1956) by Government of the State of New South WalesSydney Opera House

Opera House Competition Guidelines, Page 11, Government of the State of New South Wales, 1956, From the collection of: Sydney Opera House
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Opera House Competition Guidelines, Page 13, Government of the State of New South Wales, 1956, From the collection of: Sydney Opera House
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Opera House Competition Guidelines, Pages 14, 15 (1956) by Government of the State of New South WalesSydney Opera House

Opera House Competition Guidelines, Page 16, Government of the State of New South Wales, 1956, From the collection of: Sydney Opera House
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View of the site from the Harbour looking from the east.

Opera House Competition Guidelines, Page 17, Government of the State of New South Wales, 1956, From the collection of: Sydney Opera House
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Looking towards Bennelong Point.

Opera House Competition Guidelines, Page 18, Government of the State of New South Wales, 1956, From the collection of: Sydney Opera House
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Opera House Competition Guidelines, Page 19, Government of the State of New South Wales, 1956, From the collection of: Sydney Opera House
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Opera House Competition Guidelines, Page 20, Government of the State of New South Wales, 1956, From the collection of: Sydney Opera House
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Opera House Competition Guidelines, Page 21, Government of the State of New South Wales, 1956, From the collection of: Sydney Opera House
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Opera House Competition Guidelines, Page 22, Government of the State of New South Wales, 1956, From the collection of: Sydney Opera House
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Opera House Competition Guidelines, Page 23, Government of the State of New South Wales, 1956, From the collection of: Sydney Opera House
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Opera House Competition Guidelines, Page 24, Government of the State of New South Wales, 1956, From the collection of: Sydney Opera House
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Opera House Competition Guidelines, Page 25, Government of the State of New South Wales, 1956, From the collection of: Sydney Opera House
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Opera House Competition Guidelines, Page 26, Government of the State of New South Wales, 1956, From the collection of: Sydney Opera House
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Credits: Story

Created by Sam Doust and the
Sydney Opera House GCI Team

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Contributors:
State Records NSW

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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