Western Sydney University students engage with Sydney Opera House for immersive learning experience

Close to 60 students from Western Sydney University have participated in Sydney Opera House BUILD – a new, intensive program that encourages diverse and socially engaged design perspectives.

The students took part in the program’s Tertiary Built Environment Creative Lab, which saw them tackle a future-facing design challenge in interdisciplinary teams during the 10-day experience.

The program included a mix of tours, talks, workshops and activities within the Sydney Opera House’s world-class facilities including its newly-opened Centre for Creativity.

Sydney Opera House Chief Executive Officer Louise Herron, Arup Principal and Trustee Peter Bailey, and Professor Mike Kagioglou, Dean, School of Engineering, Design and Built Environment at the University, were on hand to welcome the students.

Professor Kagioglou said Western Sydney University was proud to partner with Sydney Opera House as part of the program’s inaugural pilot.

Sydney Opera House BUILD provided a robust opportunity for our architecture, engineering and built environment students to engage with the unique design perspectives that underpin the Sydney Opera House.”

“We thank Sydney Opera House for facilitating this incredible learning experience, and for supporting our students as the future of socially-engaged design.”

Emma Moore was one of the talented students who participated in the Tertiary Built Environment Creative Lab.

“The Opera House with its evocative and striking design has always captured my imagination. I’ve been fascinated by the extreme sweeping forms arching effortlessly out of its foundations creating an iconic structure recognised globally,” said Emma.

“As a second-year architecture student from Western Sydney who has never been inside this building, I jumped at the opportunity to delve into its history, design process and significance firsthand.”

The program gave Emma a holistic understanding of the creation of the Opera House, including the forces of chance, politics and pure ingenious creativity that made Jørn Utzon’s vision a reality.

“I learned of the intertwined relationship between architect and engineer at the heart of the design of the Opera House, that created a successful alignment of the arts and architecture in this structure that was designed to meet the needs of the community when it first opened, and now,” she said.

Through the lens of the Opera House, Emma and her peers were able to rethink and draw from architectural, engineering and design practices to further shape and transform future projects.

“I have learnt so much throughout this experience which I can not only apply to my architectural designs and studies, but extend to all other perspectives and creative endeavours. I am excited to help spread these creative philosophies and see how the streetscapes of Western and Greater Sydney will continue to change over time, benefiting the community and becoming a place of desire and aspiration for all who visit it.”

“The 10 days I spent learning about the Sydney Opera House have forever changed and influenced my outlook on my surroundings and my own design practice. I hope many more students get this opportunity like I did.”

Sydney Opera House BUILD (opens in a new window) is a new three-part program enabled with support from the Ove Arup Foundation with the aim of creating a better world through the built environment.

The Tertiary Built Environment Creative Lab (opens in a new window) is a unique Creative Learning program for tertiary students, exploring the built environment through diverse and socially engaged design perspectives.


19 May 2022

Ali Sardyga, Senior Media Officer

Photo credit: Jaimi Joy for Sydney Opera House