Arup to provide conservation efforts for Sydney Opera House

04 October 2016

The Sydney Opera House may, as part of inspection and conservation efforts, be having its foundations checked by robots within five years, a new study plan from Arup and University of Sydney reveals. The new conservation methods are part of a wider renovation study by the partners, funded through The Getty Foundation.

The Sydney Opera House, situated on Bennelong Point in Sydney Harbour, is one of the most iconic buildings of the modern age. The structure, devised by Architect Jørn Utzon, first opened to the public in 1973, and, in last year was host to more than 1,900 live events and visited by 1.45 million people. The construction process, which begun in 1959, was in part overseen by Ove Arup & Partners, a subsidiary of Arup. The firm was recognised for its work, receiving the Annual Award for Excellence in 1972 from the Association of Consulting Engineers.

Since the beginning of construction, Arup has worked on more than 300 projects related to consulting and engineering work for the Sydney Opera House. The firm’s long history with the iconic building, which has involved continued technical input to inspections, has accumulated into a trove of archival material. The firm has formalised the accrued knowledge into the project’s Repository of Knowledge, which supports generations of engineering staff working on the building.

Sydney Opera House

Last week The Getty Foundation, one of the world’s largest philanthropic organisations in the cultural sector, revealed that it had selected the Sydney Opera House as one of the first ten recipients of its 'Keeping It Modern project' – an initiative that provides financial support to conservation work on iconic buildings.

For the project, Arup and the University of Sydney are to collaborate with the Sydney Opera House, launching a “holistic conservation study, drawing on historical knowledge and potential future technology.” Through the study an improved knowledge management scheme will be developed, allowing for more efficient inspections as well as improved conservation outcomes. New techniques to check concrete, through microphone and thermal and force sensors, will be carried out by “robots in as soon as five years’ time.”

Marianne Foley, Principal, Arup in Australasia, says, “We have been working on the Sydney Opera House for almost 60 years, on over 300 individual projects. In our work, we draw on this historical understanding regularly. Our accumulated knowledge is an invaluable resource not only for the Concrete Conservation Strategy, but for the future operation and protection of our nation’s most significant cultural asset.”


More news on


Common People Festival falls into administration

04 February 2019

Corporate rescue and restructuring consultancy Begbies Traynor has been appointed administrator for the Common People Festival. The company behind music events in Oxford and Southampton owes creditors more than £500,000, and it is unclear whether it will be able to clear these debts during the liquidation process.

With consumer power having been severely impacted by stagnant wages and increasing household debt, many aspects of the UK leisure industry have been impacted in recent times. Even the music festival scene, which attracts roughly 14 million visitors to the UK every year, has taken a hit.

Last year, one of the 10 largest music festivals in the UK folded, following an expensive relocation to the Lulworth Estate in Dorset. The group behind Bestival collapsed into administration in September 2018, just months after the latest instalment of the event – which was headlined by the performers Chaka Khan, Grace Jones and Thundercat. Now, another festival group, which shares Bestival’s founder, has followed suit.Common People Festival falls into administration

Organised by DJ Rob da Bank, Common People Festival’s line-up in 2018 featured The Jacksons, James, Ride, Boney M, and Lily Allen. However, the company owes £543,546, according to a statement posted with Companies House, and has been unable to continue in its current form. As a result, consulting firm Begbies Traynor has been appointed to liquidate the company.

Talking to local paper the Daily Echo, Julie Palmer of Begbies Traynor stated it is unclear as to whether the companies will be able to clear the debts. She explained that "they have got some potential" to pay off the debts before adding "if there is a recovery it won't be a particularly large recovery."

There will be no edition of the event this year, meanwhile, which will likely impact the economies of Southampton and Oxford. A spokesman from Begbies Traynor, said, “Common People (Oxford) and Common People Festival went into liquidation and the business and its assets were not bought by any other company. As a result there will be no Common People festival in 2019.”