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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.