We could have had this:
Or perhaps this:
Or even this:
But instead, fortunately for the world, for Australia, and especially Sydney, we got this:
And it is magnificent.
In terms of sheer iconic status, the Sydney Opera House is up there. It may not be quite the premier league status of the Pyramids, the Eiffel Tower or the Empire State Building, but it's still a gobally recognised building that gives an instant identity to its city or country. A city needs "its building" and Sydney has its Opera House. But fame is a tricky mistress, and realities can often fail to live up to the hype. Does the Opera House pass the test?
In short, yes, when viewed from any direction, from a distance: it's beautiful, original, distinct and in absolute harmony with its surroundings. But it lets itself down a little when close-up, inside (from the limited visit I had) is dark and dingy and very dated, and even on the outside the style looks a little drab close up (after having tiled a few bathrooms, I can't help but be unexcited by the Opera House tiles). But the structure is incredible, the building has a real presence, and the flocks of tourists testify to its popularity.
So, impressed and inspired by the structure, I even gleefully parted with my money and bought this: