Sydney Opera House

The Sydney Opera Hall - An Inside View

Let's apply some all-Australian lateral thinking and innovation based on logic.

The present Opera House cannot be compromised or changed in any way, inside or out. It was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site on June 28, 2007. Even the area of the Opera House and its immediate surrounds cannot be compromised in any way, as it would be impossible for any other building in close proximity to enhance or even complement the present building. The uniqueness of the Sydney Opera House is its sole, bold, prominent position upon the harbour. Therefore, the recent proposal to build another prominent opera hall to and on this site is not acceptable.

The Opera House did not end up with its original requirements for a 3,000-seat Opera Hall, only a 1,500-seat hall instead, which in world terms is inadequate and uneconomic for its purpose and a constant source of controversy. It is now timely for this to be addressed as follows.


A Perfect Building, a Perfect Site, Perfect Sight
Don't Meddle with Perfection.

Nothing is more Sydney than Sydney sandstone. Sydney is the result of the geological phenomena of the Sydney Sandstone Basin, the very reason for Sydney Harbour and most of the unique features of Sydney itself and its surrounds including the Wollogong Escarpment, Blue Mountains to the Hawkesbury. It is the reason for Bennelong Point the protrusion of sandstone into Sydney Harbour which provided the unique magnificent site for Sydney Opera House.

Nothing therefore could be more Sydney than for Sydney sandstone to provide for the New Sydney Opera Hall, not only built of it, inconspicuously within the sandstone bluff next to the old Sydney Opera House. Two totally unique complementing but contrasting structures side by side. What could be more natural than the natural sandstone bluff as its entrance?

This Sydney Sandstone Opera Hall would be all Australian, as original, innovative, imaginative and unique as the Jørn Utzon creation. In addition, it would be unique for its being conspicuous as the Jørn Utzon opera house is for its being conspicuous. The brilliance is what's inside.

Plan View of Opera House Precinct, Visually Untouched

Sydney Sandstone Opera Hall concept location
The sandstone bluff would remain as is except for the entry ways.

The external architectural masterpiece of the new opera hall is that is has none, that is other than the masterpiece nature provided. It is within as nature provided, not imposed upon it. The Opera House Precinct and the Sydney Botanic Gardens would not be compromised in any way. An entrance in addition could also be from above. Image being able to spend an intermission with a coffee or wine in a garden. It would be similar but contrastingly different from the existing Opera House.

In answer to the critics, there will be sufficient car parking for additional activity in this area. Firstly, another underground car park could easily be provided. Secondly, the Quay has the greatest concentration of public transport in Sydney, including the three links of rail, bus and ferry.

Our environment is telling us public transport has to be the future focus, not the individual car. There should be an Opera House ferry service to the Man O'War Jetty. There could be a moving walkway or shuttle (possibly underground) from the Quay to the Opera House Precinct.

Imagine entering here; to the world-leading, all-unique, all-original, all-Australian Opera Hall, within the accepted most stunning location in the world, but without imposing upon it while complementing our existing World Heritage Opera House.

Concepts of the New Sydney Opera Hall


The major appeal is the cost and ease of its construction. It is proven that excavating Sydney sandstone is considerably cheaper in providing a building structure than a structure above ground. The perfect example of this is the adjacent very large cost-effective opera house underground car park.

One of the significant additional costs to the existing opera house was the soundproofing of the structure from the external noises of the harbour. Being underground, this is inherent in this design for our new opera hall at no additional cost. The air conditioning load would also be less.

It would unquestionably have a lower energy footprint cost and be ore greenhouse gas friendly than any other structure, both in its building and ongoing operation.


The clear logic of this concept is that the volume of the underground opera house car part constructed within the sandstone is 140,000 meters, far greater than that required for our new opera hall at no more than 100,000 cubic meters, and built at a fraction of the cost of the existing opera house, or in fact any building above ground.

A magic brilliant example of underground architecture using Sydney sandstone is the Conservatory of Music just a little further up Macquarie Street.

An opera hall by necessity must be totally enclosed, so enclose it in Sydney sandstone.

This space is there waiting for our innovation, our creation, our imagination.

Pictorial Logic

The logic and the proven construction techniques of the concept of an underground opera hall to complement and enhance our existing World Heritage Listed Sydney Opera House all within Sydney's Opera House Precinct is show below.

These are photos taken of the public display in the entrance to the Opera House Car Park.

This pictorially shows the opera house underground car park. It has a bulk of 140,000 cubic meters and a height of 35 meters. This is significantly greater than that needed for an up to 4000-seat opera hall. Thus, this is the prime example of our new opera hall.


The above are photos of the construction of the existing underground car park. The same philosophy and logic clearly applies to our new Sydney Opera Hall.

Our new world-standard, up to 4000-seat capacity, economically viable opera house could be here and without impinging upon or compromising this view in any way.

Sydney's New Opera Hall Facts and Figures

The excavated area needed for a 4000-seat opera hall is about 90,000 cubic meters. Allow for other excavated areas such as for entrance and exit, storage pits and general areas of an additional 40,000 cubic meter gives a total of 130,000 cubic meters.

This based on the budget cost of $750 per cubic meter for Sydney sandstone excavation, the cost of the building structure and volume would be $975,000,000; let's say $1,000,000,000 [In the original, this figure is $100,000,000, but three zeros seem to be missing]. Sounds like great value for the money. On top of this is the fit-out but as interior finishes are to be largely the natural sandstone itself, a reasonable guess is this would be very easily covered by an additional $100,000,000. This equates to Sydney achieving an opera hall bigger than the 3,000-seat hall initially commissioned as that necessary to be viable, for a total cost of $1,100,000,000[? check figures]. Really sounds like great value for the money.

How much would Sydney gain in addition to the existing world heritage listed, world iconic opera house, with another would iconic opera hall to provide for Sydney the greatest opera precinct and music cultural precinct centre in the world? $200,000,000 [$1,200,000,000?] sounds great.

Into this calculation has to be taken the fact that the existing opera house, particularly the opera hall that has seating for only 1,500, is not viable and requires a great injection of cash each year just to stay afloat. A 4,000-seat opera hall would rectify this plus provide far less expensive seating to a greater range of audiences than at present, thus promote the art and music of opera to a far greater audience base. What value do we add for this? It is difficult to estimate in dollar terms but in the stature of Sydney, the international music student attraction of Sydney, the general tourist attraction of Sydney, Sydney as a city of excellence, it is beyond dollar estimation.

Also be mindful of the very impressive, also with a Sydney sandstone architectural theme, is the Sydney Conservatorium of Music just another 200 meters up the road in the same Music Cultural Precinct.

The conception of the original Sydney Opera House to be located on Bennelong Point capture the imagination of Sydney. With the decision on the Jørn Utzon design, Sydney and the whole of NSW was sold. When the question came up as to how to pay for it, the special Opera House Lottery was borne and run by the NSW State Lotteries.

State lotteries were originally introduced to raise the funds for just and special causes. This has changed over the years to be just a general revenue raiser and now the present mind set of our State Government is to sell off our NSW State Lotteries to fill in their financial black hole.

Let's put the State Lotteries back where they belong and have another special Opera House Lottery to provide for this continuation of vision of Sydney to provide to the world the iconic Sydney Opera House with the Opera Hall as was originally intended.

Created by Hugh Walker. Last Modification: Thursday 01 of September, 2011 00:27:43 AEST by Hugh Walker.