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The Saga of Sydney Opera House: The Dramatic…
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The Saga of Sydney Opera House: The Dramatic Story of the Design and…

by Peter Murray

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Peter Murray started out as an admirer of the SOH's architect Jorn Utzon, thinking, along with many others that he was the tragic hero of this famous building's tale. Uzton, the competition-winning designer who came up with the SOH's unique and iconic form, eventually resigned from the job under pressure from the Australian government, after years of argument and controversy.

Murray has interviewed many of the people involved in the project, and extensively researched the archives, to tell the true tale of how Utzon was appointed and how he eventually fell from grace. For anyone involved in the interface between architects and their clients, or between architects and engineers, it's a very informative tale.

Utzon was something of a megalomaniac, determined to control every aspect of the project down to the last detail. However, he had no experience of building projects on this scale, and little sympathy for the client's need to control costs and meet a programme. He seems very much in the tradition of architect as a romantic artist, a visionary, a genius, but someone almost entirely lacking the organisational and political skills required to actually get anything as complex as the SOH built.

The book paints a very sympathetic portrayal of the building's structural engineers, Arup, who were often the piggy-in-the-middle while the client fought to get Utzon to ever produce any working drawings.

Although the book contradicts other published accounts, it seems well-researched and certainly rings true to me. The writing style is often dry - this certainly isn't a flashy, exaggerated dramatisation of what actually happened. ( )
  bduguid | Apr 6, 2006 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0415325218, Hardcover)

Peter Murray's compelling and highly readable biography of the building presents both sides of the story. Using previously unpublished files and papers, Murray has managed to unravel one of the most intriguing architectural controversies of recent times - what really happened when they built Sydney Opera House...

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:08 -0400)

"Probably the most popular building of the last century, Sydney Opera House is the icon of modern Australia. It has repaid its Au$100 million cost many times over, both as a tourist attraction and as a cultural center; as a brand, it is priceless. The story of its creation is one of both triumph and tragedy: universally loved these days, it was attacked by press and public when under construction. It is a masterpiece of modern architecture, yet Jorn Utzon, its designer, walked out before completion. Opinions are still divided over who was at fault when he resigned after a row with the client in 1966, and the story continues to rouse powerful passions to this day. Now, nearly 40 years later, Utzon has been invited back to oversee the building's refurbishment." "Peter Murray's biography of the building presents both sides of the story. Using previously unpublished files and papers; Murray has managed to unravel one of the most intriguing architectural controversies of recent times - what really happened when they built Sydney Opera House?"--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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