Monday, February 26, 2007

Opera in bronze


Yes, even buddhist monks enjoy having their photo taken in front of the Sydney Opera House! Can you see the large tinted glass panes on the facade? Click on the photo to enlarge it, you'll see them better. At the time the Opera was built in the late sixties, architect Jorn Utzon was quite particular about the bronze colour he wanted for the glass and only the French glassmaker Boussois (now BSN) was able to create and supply it. The story was told to me by Patrick Bourrier, the then young French engineer who spent months on the building site supervising the supply and mounting of the glass panes. It was his first big project, and what an exciting one! Because of the curved architecture, no two sheets are exactly the same and all had to be re-cut to shape. The good news is, although a good stock of spare glass has been set aside, only one window has needed replacement since the building's inauguration in 1973.

Oui, même les moines bouddhistes aiment se faire prendre en photo devant l'opéra de Sydney ! Vous voyez les grands panneaux vitrés de la façade ? (cliquez sur la photo pour l'agrandir). Au moment de sa construction à la fin des années soixante, l'architecte Jorn Utzon voulait des vitres d'une certaine couleur bronze que seul le vitrier français Boussois (devenu BSN) a su lui fabriquer spécialement. L'histoire m'a été racontée par Patrick Bourrier qui à l'époque fut le jeune ingénieur responsable du projet, passant des mois sur le chantier à superviser la fourniture, la découpe et la pose des vitrages. Peut-on rêver projet plus excitant pour démarrer sa vie professionnelle ? Du fait des courbes architecturales, aucune vitre n'a exactement la même taille et toutes ont dû être recoupées sur mesure. Un stock de vitres de rechange a évidemment été prévu mais, bonne nouvelle, un seul panneau a eu besoin d'être changé depuis l'inauguration de l'opéra en 1973...

24 comments:

Li said...

I guess everyone likes being photographed infront of that building. Thanks for the information, too; I never knew about how special the glass is before I read your post.

M.Benaut said...

Nathalie,
I have a soft spot in my heart for the Sydney Opera House. I watched it being built in the sixties and have several photos of it while under construction. I would love to show them to you.

Lilly said...

What a great picture. I love the colours. Also, the background you gave about the Sydney Opera gives the picture even more meaning.

james said...

great colors, very interesting composition

Tomate Farcie said...

Superb structure and very good shot!

(I once had a boyfriend who told me that my hair looks like Sydney Opera House when I get in the morning. Every time I see a picture of that structure, I think of him.)

photowannabe said...

Interesting information on the glass. It is quite lovely and a great composition.

Chris & Deb said...

I've never known that detailed history of this magnificent building.
Someday I hope to see this in-person!

bv said...

excellent, love your Opera in bonze ;-)

Ming_the_Merciless said...

What a brilliant photo!!

don said...

nice story about the glass. Like the Operahouses

Cergie said...

L'opéra mythique de sydney qui a bercé mes rêves d'étudiante en archi...
Cet opéra a été mieux conçu que l'opéra bastille qui a du être emmailloté pour protéger les passants de ses crises d'eczéma !
Ta photo est superbe Ce doré réchauffe
Et les moines sont des hommes comme tout le monde
Mon oncle était prêtre et il avait plein de défauts dont celui de vanité le cher homme (je l'aimais beaucoup, va pas croire... )

Eric said...

Wow, what a brilliant photo. You are right, even the most touristy thing can be interesting providing we find something unusual to match it with. And these bonze monks certainly do the trick!

Je n'aurai qu'un mot : BRA-VO ! Quant au titre...

Jilly said...

Ah, happy memories of Sydney, Natalie. Lovely photograph. I lived in Australia for six years - three in Tasmania and three in Cairns with visits to Sydney - such a beautiful city.

Thankyou for passing by my blog.

Jilly x

Olivier said...

la photo est tres belle, et puis la couleur des habits des moines est top avec la lumiere du jour sur l'opera.

Bleeding Orange said...

merci pour tous ces renseignements et cette belle photo, très zen. Les couleurs sont magnifiques. Ce batiment (oeuvre?) est totalement fascinant à mes yeux.

Alex said...

Cette photo est magnifique et dégage une grande chaleur: la couleur des panneaux vitrés couleur bronze, le coucher de soleil qui inonde cette belle façade en forme de proue de bateau et enfin les deux moines bouddhistes qui s’harmonisent parfaitement à cette belle composition.

Sc said...

I am taking ur invitation to visit your blog. :)
Perhaps you would like to visit mine and we can establish links if you leave a comment behind.
Hi hi~

Ioanna said...

Very impressive futuristic building! And the monks give aroma of "east" in the picture! Lovely colors!

ruth said...

Fascinating info! And yes, how nice that only one window has needed replacing. Great photo.

Maxime said...

mince alors,
avec ma manie de parcourir en diagonale, j'avais cru lire "opera in bonze" !

freelancer said...

superbe mélange des genres

watchthis said...

Did the monks posed only for you or for another monk ?

Pod said...

i didn't know that about the glass, so merci madame. i took some onteresting photos of reflections in the glass there too. they may pop up at podville sometime...

chamamy said...

En une photo et quelques explications....tu nous emplis de connaissances,de réflexion ;) et de jubilation :)