In February 1956 Joseph Cahill – Premier of New South Wales – announced an international competition to build “a National Opera House at Bennelong Point, Sydney.”
Architects could enter as many different drawings as they liked, with no limit on the budget available to build the winning entry, according to Budget Direct.
All in all, there were 223 entries — including the unusual winning design by Jørn Utzon.
Courtesy of Budget Direct, are some colorized photos of what the entries might have looked like in real life:
1. A design from Philadelphia Collaborative Group
This submarine-like design took out second place in the competition — meaning if we didn’t have our current beloved Opera House, this would have been it.
Like the winning design, the structure was inspired by the seashell form and was to have utilized the latest techniques in the use of concrete.
2. Paul Boissevain and Barbara Osmond’s Design
The Dutch-British team’s entry was rather conservative next to Marzella and Utzon’s concrete seashells, which is why it was consigned to third place in the contest.
3. Sir Eugene Goossen’s Design
Sir Eugene Goossen was at the forefront when it came to campaigning for the Opera House to be built. Not only was he the conductor of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, but he was also the director of the NSW State Conservatorium.
4. Peter Kollar and Balthazar Korab’s Design
Refugees from the communist regime in Hungary, Kollar and Korab’s entry was the highest ranking entry from an Australian entity. The judges commented on the project’s “very skilful planning.”
5. S. W. Milburn and Partners’ Design
Stanley Wayman Milburn and Eric Dow’s design serves a practical purpose — yep, that’s a helicopter pad planted up on the roof.
6. Vine and Vine’s Design
English company Vine and Vine’s sprawling opera house was made up of two auditoria, separated by a restaurant. Like many of their competitors, the Vines made provision for outdoor space – in their case with a sunken waterside plaza.
7. Kelly and Gruzen’s Design
This design came courtesy of American architects Barnett Sumner Gruzen and Colonel Hugh A. Kelly.