It might be one of the wonders of the modern world, but Sydney Opera House (SOH) isn’t as popular with musicians as it is with the general public. That’s because the Jørn Utzon-designed building has a tiny orchestra pit and a partially-vaulted ceiling that creates unwanted reverberations.
To tackle the issue SOH have brought in German acoustic specialists Müller BBM. The Munich-based engineers plan to alter the acoustics of the main hall and the pit using sound absorbing panels.
Because SOH is a Unesco World Heritage Site Müller BBM cannot make any permanent changes to the building – any alterations must be reversible. The work will cost an estimated AUD202m (€138.5m), with the opera house closed from 2019 to 2021.
‘So much of what the Opera House does today could not have been envisaged when it was first conceived and built,’ said SOH CEO Louise Herron. ‘It is crucial that as we work through these renewal projects we respect our incredible heritage.’
The redevelopment will also see some office space converted into a Creative Learning Centre.
Seven million people visit SOH each year, making it the most popular tourist attraction in Australia. Of those, 1.3 million attend and event, while 300,000 take a tour of the building. It was opened by Queen Elizabeth in 1973.
Utzon quit the project before it was completed after falling out with the local government, and did not oversee the much-criticised interior.