Sydney Opera House: The Poiesis of Tectonic Architecture in the Age of Digital Augmentation

Adrian Carter, Lars Botin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearchpeer-review


In this chapter, we shall try to capture some existential qualities in a specific work of architecture by the Danish architect Jørn Utzon, namely, the Sydney Opera House (1969). It is the claim that these qualities are to a very high degree the result of the conjunction of critical, reflexive, and phenomenological thinking of the creator himself, which in the end epitomized in concrete architecture. It is also the assumption that in the building happens a gathering of the world, which means that philosophical, cultural, historical, contextual, geographical, and topographical issues are simultaneously brought forth in the building. The building is an exemplary sample of how the ideal and the everyday practical can, or even should, meet in order for poiesis to happen.

The chapter is structured according to these philosophical, cultural, his-torical, geographical, and topographical qualities, even though not considered as distinct with separate paragraphs, but more as an overall framework for understanding.

The last part of the chapter will deal with how recent uses of the monument as screen for digital projections are critical, and in some cases, even morally wrong, as if disrupting the existential qualities of the building.

The philosophical framework of the chapter is mainly phenomenological, referring to, namely, Martin Heidegger, Christian Norberg-Schulz, and Juhani Pallasmaa. In the last part of the chapter, we will try to reflect on the new appropriations of the building through postphenomenological lenses, because hopefully this will provide some sort of understanding in relation to these new appropriations.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPostphenomenology and Architecture
Subtitle of host publicationHuman Technology Relations in the Built Environment
EditorsLars Botin, Inger Berling Hyams
Place of PublicationLanham
PublisherLexington Books
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Publication series

NamePostphenomenology and the Philosophy of Technology


Dive into the research topics of 'Sydney Opera House: The Poiesis of Tectonic Architecture in the Age of Digital Augmentation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this