To mark the occasion, the SOH is hosting an exhibition exploring the genesis of Utzon's landmark vision, while also featuring some of the losing designs. (Some images from the exhibition are included at left and below.)
It's hard to think of Sydney without the instantly recognizable billowing white sails of the Opera House, but the building's history hasn't all been smooth sailing. Utzon resigned in 1966 (midway through construction, which began in 1959 and wasn't completed until 1973) after clashing with government officials over the cost and feasibility of the project.
The free exhibition also includes Max Dupain's photographs of the SOH during construction.
Anne Watson, editor of Building a Masterpiece: The Sydney Opera House, said of the competition, "Much has been made of the imaginative and daring choice of the four competition judges in January 1957. However, other entries by architects like Harry Seidler, Peter Kollar, and Robert Geddes, commended by the competition judges, provide fascinating insights into the wide range of modernist design responses to the site and the competition brief."
Norman Gillespie, Sydney Opera House CEO, commented, "I don't think anyone realized 50 years ago how important the Sydney Opera House would become and what a historic moment this would be for the future of Sydney and Australia."
The exhibition runs through February 28 in the Opera House's Western Foyers.