Lonely Planet Writer

First look at the new development designs for Sydney Opera House

Renewal plans for Sydney Opera House have been unveiled, offering a first glimpse at the upgrades and expansions that are set to be carried out on Australia’s most iconic building over the next few years.

Sydney Opera House Developments
Artist’s rendering of the improved Concert Hall space at Sydney Opera House. Image by Sydney Opera House
Sydney Opera House Developments
Designs for the Concert Hall lift at Sydney Opera House. Image by Sydney Opera House

Development plans worth an estimated A$202 million are in place, including upgrades to the acoustics, accessibility, efficiency and flexibility of the Concert Hall, the largest internal performance space at the Opera House.

Sydney Opera House Developments
An artist’s rendering of the Creative Learning Centre set to come to the Opera House. Image by Sydney Opera House
Sydney Opera House Developments
An image showing the dynamic and changeable nature of the space. Image by Sydney Opera House

The plans will open more of the Opera House to the public, as well as transforming office spaces into a new Creative Learning Centre for children and families. The existing marquee at the Northern Boardwalk will be replaced with a function centre within the building envelope, offering spectacular views of the surrounding harbour. As well as this, a new car-free entrance under the Monumental Steps will be created to help with accessibility.

Sydney Opera House Developments
The proposed entry and foyer under the steps as seen from outside. Image by Sydney Opera House
Internal view of the proposed entry and foyer under the steps.
Internal view of the proposed entry and foyer under the steps. Image by Sydney Opera House

In addition to the projects revealed in the recent designs, the first stage of renewal also includes a $45 million self-funded project to replace the ‘engine’ in the Opera House’s second-largest internal performance space, the Joan Sutherland Theatre.

An artist’s rendering of the new box office and foyer.
An artist’s rendering of the new box office and foyer. Image by Sydney Opera House
Another rendering of the proposed foyer and box office area at Sydney Opera House.
Another rendering of the proposed foyer and box office area at Sydney Opera House. Image by Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House CEO Louise Herron said, “the Opera House is a masterpiece of creative genius and belongs to us all. It is central to our identity as Australians. The renewal projects are designed to ensure the Opera House continues to evolve, welcoming and inspiring people in as many ways as possible”.

Plans for the Northern foyer passageway at Sydney Opera House.
Plans for the Northern foyer passageway at Sydney Opera House. Image by Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House is the country’s number one tourist destination and Australia’s busiest performing arts centre. While the Joan Sutherland Theatre is set to close for seven months in 2017 to make way for the developments, during that time, the Opera House’s five other performance stages, the food outlets and tour facilities will remain open.

A rendering of the function centre plans in place for the Opera House.
A rendering of the function centre plans in place for the Opera House. Image by Sydney Opera House
Internal plans for the function centre at Sydney Opera House.
Internal plans for the function centre at Sydney Opera House. Image by Sydney Opera House

The largest part of the development plans will be the upgrade of the Concert Hall. It is expected to take 18 months to complete and construction is due to begin in 2019, with the hall reopening in 2021.