On October 20, 1973, the Sydney Opera House, designed by Danish architect Jorn Utzon, opened to the public and quickly became one of the most recognizable buildings in the world. The structure’s roof consists of a series of giant, arched, concrete “shells” that resemble the sails of a ship when seen from a distance. The building is one of the busiest performing arts centers in the world, playing host to more than 1,500 performances each year and visited by more than 7 million people annually. In 2007, the Sydney Opera House was made a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The opera house was designed to be beautiful when viewed from land, air, or water, reflecting the cosmopolitan atmosphere of Sydney’s port. Utzon looked at sea charts, photographs, and aerial photographs to make sure his design would integrate with the landscape and harbor.

architect
Noun

person who designs buildings or other large structures.

Noun

type of map with information useful to ocean or air navigators.

concrete
Noun

hard building material made from mixing cement with rock and water.

cosmopolitan
Adjective

familiar or comfortable all over the world, or to people from all over the world.

Noun

part of a body of water deep enough for ships to dock.

integrate
Verb

to combine, unite, or bring together.

Noun

the geographic features of a region.

port
Noun

left side of a ship.

roof
Noun

the top of a building.

Noun

the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.