Work has begun on upgrading the Opera House’s Function Centre, to create a purpose-built facility inside the building for a range of events, including community celebrations, intimate gatherings and small-scale performances.
An important part of the project is the permanent removal of the existing events marquee from the north-eastern corner of Bennelong Point. This will provide more open space and restore unimpeded views of the Opera House’s northern façade, once the Function Centre works are completed.
The Function Centre is the second project in the $273 million program of building works planned for the Opera House’s Decade of Renewal. Work has begun six weeks after the reopening on New Year’s Eve of the upgraded Joan Sutherland Theatre, on time and on budget.
Patterson Building Group (PBG) has been appointed to deliver the Function Centre, designed by architects Tonkin Zulaikha Greer, who did the 2015 fit-out of the Opera House’s award-winning Bennelong restaurant.
Sydney Opera House CEO Louise Herron AM said: “We are delighted to have completed significant upgrades to the Joan Sutherland Theatre. The next project in our Decade of Renewal involves removing the existing intrusive marquee and creating a first-class functions facility within the building.
“The community responded very positively to vehicle traffic being removed from our Forecourt in 2016. The Function Centre project is another important step in providing more open space at the Opera House, restoring Jørn Utzon’s vision and ensuring this symbol of modern Australia is enjoyed and celebrated by the community, now and in the future.”
The NSW Government is investing $228 million in the Opera House’s extensive building renewal program, with another $45 million contributed by the Opera House itself. Together these works will prepare the world-famous performing arts centre and premier tourism destination for the next generation of artists, audiences and visitors.
NSW Minister for the Arts Don Harwin said: “The Function Centre upgrade both respects the heritage of this much-loved Sydney icon and gives more of the Opera House to the community. People will be able to use the new public space inside the building to celebrate significant events, engage with the arts and enjoy some of the world’s best views.
“Undertaking these works within weeks of the successful reopening of the upgraded Joan Sutherland Theatre highlights the momentum behind the Opera House’s renewal works. It is wonderful to see many years of hard work and planning by so many people coming to fruition.”
The renewed Function Centre will feature:
- 500 sqm premium function space with capacity for about 190 people seated and 500 standing – available year-round;
- Direct access to the Northern Broadwalk and dramatic views of Sydney Harbour and the Bridge; and
- 270 sqm state-of-the-art kitchen.
The Opera House’s independent Eminent Architects Panel and Conservation Council have been closely involved in the development of the Function Centre plans to ensure they align with Utzon’s Design Principles and the Opera House’s recently updated Conservation Management Plan.
Sydney Opera House Heritage Consultant Alan Croker said: “This remarkable building is loved by people everywhere, in so many ways, and it’s important it continues to inspire people well into the 21st century.
“The changes now underway with the redevelopment of the Function Centre respect Utzon’s vision and support the conservation of the Opera House by removing the intrusive marquee from the Northern Broadwalk.”
Source: Sydney Opera House