Institute opposes exploitation of Sydney Opera House sails

The Australian Institute of Architects has voiced its support for Sydney Opera House chief executive Louise Herron in upholding the policy of her organisation and opposing the use of the sails of the World Heritage listed Opera House in a manner contrary to that policy.

‘The management of the Opera House has a duty to the people of New South Wales to protect the Opera House from exploitation. We are disappointed that the NSW Government has intervened and instructed them, against their policy, to allow its sails to be lit up with commercially driven material,’ NSW Chapter President Andrew Nimmo said today.

‘The Sydney Opera House is Australia’s greatest building and recognised around the world as perhaps the greatest building of the 20th century. That is why it has World Heritage listing. With that listing comes a responsibility to treat the building with respect and dignity. It is not an advertising billboard.

‘The commercial benefit of projecting onto the Opera House is undeniable, and we understand that as a major tourist icon, the Opera House will be expected to lend its prestige in the support of tourism from time to time,’ Mr Nimmo continued. ‘However, this must be done with the utmost care to ensure that community expectations are met, and the integrity of the Opera House as a cultural icon is maintained and not trashed.

‘It seems we are continually seeing the commercialisation of major public spaces for the benefit of private commercial gain. We fear that a new precedent has been set where exclusive commercial interests have been supported by government over public benefit.’


In the news:

Sydney Morning Herald, 8/10/18 

The New Daily, 8/10/18 

ArchitectureAU, 8/10/18 

Architecture & Design 9/10/18 


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Kate Concannon

NSW Advocacy & Communications Lead

Australian Institute of Architects

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