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2019 MADE by the Opera House wraps up with Utzon-inspired design showcase

Jennifer Shand Jennifer Shand Australasia Press Office,Sydney
25 September 2019

The ‘Multidisciplinary Australian Danish Exchange (MADE) by the Opera House’ programme has wrapped up for another year with Danish participants showcasing their concepts for enlivening the Sydney Opera House’s Northern Foyer in the Joan Sutherland Theatre.

The presentation was the culmination of the university students’ six-week exchange to Australia, supported by MADE partners and sponsors, including Arup. Five students from NSW and five from Denmark took part in the exchange, getting a unique exposure to real-world and multidisciplinary design.

Now in its fifth year, the programme has more than 50 alumni, of whom five have been offered careers at Arup. Many senior Arup people have also been involved, mentoring students and providing specialist technical insights into design.

Arup’s Billie-Grace Dunk, a student of University of Sydney and 2019 MADE participant, travelled to Denmark in January and said the programme challenged her ideas of what it means to be an engineer, architect or designer.


“Everyone contributed their skills and life experience to complete the design task. Irrespective of our discipline and title, we were all ‘makers’ looking to produce the best outcome,” said Billie.

In January, Australian students were challenged to design an addition to the new Aarhus School of Architecture development. Their ‘New Barn’ design reflected traditional Danish construction styles, while at the same time embracing and championing circular economy principles.

Australian exchange students present their 'New Barn' concept Australian exchange students present their 'New Barn' concept
Australian exchange students Billie-Grace Dunk, Jack Jeffries, Josephine Nicholas and Tom Dufficy (absent Nicholas Bucci), present their ‘New Barn’ concept for the new Aarhus School of Architecture development in the Godsbanen area of Aarhus.

Danish exchange student Morten Stistrup reflected on the programme’s opportunities to gain insights into different disciplines. He said it was surreal to visit Australia for the first time, and not only see Sydney Opera House but to have an immersive design experience.

“MADE has provided experience and insights that will stay with us well into our careers, as well as a network of like-minded professionals,” said Morten.

Arup Principal Marianne Foley said Arup is proud to share its technical insights and intimate knowledge of the iconic structure. Acoustics, structural, façade, theatre, transport and fire engineering teams ran workshops and mentoring sessions for the Danish students in Australia, while the Australian students participated in structural and circular design workshops in Denmark.

“The students’ final designs showed truly considered and collaborative approaches which embraced Utzon’s Design Principles and reflected deep understandings of the people and communities who engage with the design, its heritage, sustainability and accessibility,” said Marianne.


“It’s this multidisciplinary understanding, experience and MADE alumni’s enthusiasm that will carry into inclusive and innovative designs of the future."

‘MADE’ was established in 2013 for the Sydney Opera House’s 40th anniversary and over ten years will connect 100 engineering, architecture and design students from Australia and Denmark– representing the multidisciplinary and international collaboration which was a feature of the Opera House’s construction.