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The Sydney Opera House celebrates it’s 40th birthday this week, an iconic architectural structure controversially designed by Jørn Utzon.

The occasion is celebrated by a visit from the Danish royal couple – Crown Prince Fredrik & ‘Our’ Mary – accompanied by an exhibition of Danish Design.

The significance of this building is recognised the world over – and who better to reflect on a national treasure than award-winning architect Nick Tobias.

From Nick’s blog is his musings on the SOH 40th milestone:

 As far as iconic buildings go, the Opera House is up there with the Empire State Building, the Eiffel Tower and Bilbao’s Guggenheim museum.

Every time I get a glimpse of Jørn Utzon’s expressionist masterpiece, a thrill of recognition and inspiration goes up my spine. Audacious, it summed up the optimism of the 1960s and pushed Sydney onto the world stage for the first time since settlement.

In terms of architectural innovation, the cupped ‘shells’ pushed precast concrete to the limit of its capabilities, the glass curtain wall of the foyer was revolutionary and the off-form concrete interior still amazes me to this day.

Yes, it’s the 40th anniversary of an icon – and oversized cupcakes aside, it is a moment of great joy and pride for me, and for every architect practicing in the country today

To mark the moment, the Powerhouse museum has released a revised and updated version of its book, Building A Masterpiece which features some fantastic black and white images by that other Australian icon, photographer Max Dupain.

thsnapassembly_ARCHITECTURE_Sydney-Opera-House_Nick_Tobias_architectFollow Nick’s musings on architecture and design – HERE

IMAGES (c) Max Dupain courtesy of the Powerhouse Museum // Portrait courtesy of Tobias Partners

Sydney Opera House – Danish Design exhibition until November 11