There’s more to Australia than Hugh Jackman, “Barbies” and Kangaroos. Today, Australia is home to some of the finest architecture in the world. If great design in buildings is what makes you wide-eyed with wonder, then here are 5 must visit structures in Australia for the architectural enthusiast.
- Sydney Opera House, Sydney
What does the Sydney Opera House have in common with the Giza Necropolis and Stonehenge? These three structures are UNESCO World Heritage-listed sites signifying architectural and man-made masterpieces. The Danish architect Jørn Utzon won his eighth architectural prize with the awarding of the SOH contract in 1957. But his designs were so futuristic and outlandish that none of the prior seven had ever been built – and by the time Utzon moved his office to Sydney in 1963, he’d begun to wish this one hadn’t either.
A great urban sculpture set in a remarkable waterscape, at the tip of a peninsula projecting into Sydney Harbour, the building has had an enduring influence on architecture. The Sydney Opera House comprises three groups of interlocking vaulted ‘shells’ which roof two main performance halls and a restaurant. These shell-structures are set upon a vast platform and are surrounded by terrace areas that function as pedestrian concourses. The place makes for a perfect view of the night sky in the city.
- Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney
Over nine years, six million rivets, 52,800 tonnes of steel and 45,000 tons of Moruya granite were used to complete what would become Sydney’s tallest structure, at 134m, until surpassed by Australia Square in 1967, the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It is the world’s largest (but not the longest) steel arch bridge with the top of the bridge standing 134 metres above the harbour. It is fondly known by the locals as the ‘Coathanger’ because of its arch-based design. While Sydney may have a lot to offer, do give this a look.
BridgeClimb started in 1998 and attracts tourists and locals alike to climb the monument. After climbing through catwalks and up ladders and stairs, the view is absolutely breathtaking. There are day, twilight and night climbs and a group of twelve will leave for a climb every ten minutes.
By all reports, BridgeClimb is fantastic and one of the ‘must dos’ while on a trip to Sydney, with royals and celebrities such as Prince Frederik and Princess Mary of Denmark, Matt Damon, Hugo Weaving, Sarah Ferguson, Cathy Freeman, Kylie Minogue and Kostya Tszyu all having done the Climb.
- one40william, Perth
Apart from the nature’s magnificence in the country, it also houses more urban based structures. one40william, officially known as the Gordon Stephenson House, is a new commercial, retail and cultural space in Perth’s city centre, completed in 2010. It’s recognized for its innovative, green design. Its elegant box structures need minimal artificial light; an angled floor plan allows air circulation and it also features rooftop gardens. one40william’s eco-friendly design is expected to save enough water to fill more than nine Olympic-sized swimming pools, more than $190,000 worth of electricity and nearly 1,900 tons of carbon dioxide each year.
Heritage buildings have been restored and woven into this contemporary design. Inside, one40william comprises two levels of retail space, gallery spaces, eateries, offices and a two-level car park.
- State Library of Queensland, Queensland
The State Library of Queensland was originally built in 1988 but redeveloped in 2006 into a space almost double its original size .Layered fin-type structures shade the outside and create interesting patterns on the façade as the sun moves over the building.
A tall, open, interior has multiple entrance points. Its part of Brisbane’s Southbank culture precinct and the redeveloped space now houses an archive repository, an indigenous knowledge centre, an auditorium, gallery, cafés and function rooms. The idea was to allow people to look inside without going in.
- Federation Square, Melbourne
Angular, metallic and glass boxes line Federation Square’s interlocking buildings. This vibrant civic and cultural space was developed to celebrate the Centenary of Federation in 2001. The square includes art galleries, theatres, media originations, restaurants, bars, shops, an open amphitheatre and an outdoor area on top of a working railway in the centre of Melbourne. It’s a controversial jewel in the city center — some love it, others hate the futuristic look. Royal Australian Institute of Architects, however, dig it –- it’s the most awarded project in their history.