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It is strange that hitherto there has been no book about the Sydney Opera House that attempted to review its design. There have been many that wrote about the saga of the construction. Others concentrated on the architectural and artistic qualities. But none has had the temerity to give an overall view of its form and function.
Now, in Reviewing the Performance, a calm and careful analysis has been made of all aspects of this remarkable building. It gives consideration to the hidden problems of the competition brief, notes the difficulties of matching the radical winning design with the restricted site, and records the immense problems encountered during its construction.
Reviewing the Performance also brings to light some startling revelations about seating and acoustic volumes. But this book then goes one stage further and examines aspects of ethics and aesthetics in architecture and how a building may become an artistic masterpiece yet never reach magnificence in its primary function. It poses more questions than answers.
Of particular interest is the inclusion of details of other famous concert halls, and their seating and acoustics, in comparison with those of the Sydney Opera House.
This book is a fascinating study of one of the great buildings of the world, accompanied by the beautiful, meticulous, explanatory drawings of the author and the wonderful photographs of the late Max Dupain.
Reviewing the performance is without doubt, the most detailed, absorbing and valuable contribution to the canon of writing about this beautiful building.