Sydney Opera House: Bold minds, a living legacy

This year marks 50 years since the Sydney Opera House’s opening and 60 years since our firm started operating in Australia on the Opera House’s construction site. 

Our ‘Bold minds, a living legacy’ exhibition celebrates our people – past and present – the bold minds who made this global icon possible and maintain its legacy for future generations. 

Original engineering drawings, calculations, newspaper clippings and construction photos from the 1950s help us relive the building’s remarkable engineering and architectural feats.

The Tessellation installation and documentary-style film House Proud celebrate our collaboration, connections, projects and stories and captures our member’s deep care for conserving the building for the future.

Our exhibition showcases the deep care and pride our people have for the Sydney Opera House. Its history inspires our people to be bold and creative and continue reimagining the building for future generations. ” Kerryn Coker Kerryn Coker Co-Chair, Australasia Region

The exhibition features works from the Arup Collection – art and design with origins in the earliest years of the firm. The collection is a cultural asset shared by all our members and, in recent years, added to by Phase 2, our cultural programme.

Historical architectural photography by Henk Snoek and Harry Sowden captures the Sydney Opera House roof model undergoing stress distribution testing and the installation of the glass walls in the 1960s and 70s.

The contemporary work Sphere, commissioned in 2014, is a tribute to the model-makers and drafters who grappled with the extraordinary geometry of the Sydney Opera House. 

It maps every spherical roof segment of the Minor Hall onto a sphere by sharing the shells' origin points. The illuminated selective laser-sintered nylon shells show the structural rib vaults beneath the external tiling.

Earlier this year, Sphere’s designer, architect Nick Westby, sat down with our Global Deputy Chair, Tristram Carfrae, to discuss the work. Watch their discussion in the video below. 

Sphere – A conversation between Tristram Carfrae and Nick Westby
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These works are an important part of the shared heritage of our international community. Now in Sydney, they provide a precious link to our cultural history as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Sydney Opera House. ” Jennifer Greitschus Head of Exhibitions

Learn more about our enduring relationship with the Sydney Opera House.