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Sydney Opera House BUILD Secondary School Design Challenge

Upon application by schools

A unique Creative Learning program for year 9 and 10 students, exploring a holistic journey through STEM/STEAM subjects as inspired by the Sydney Opera House.

A fun and playful design challenge

BUILD’s Secondary program radically redefines what the STEM curriculum may mean for young people. The program uses Sydney Opera House as a learning canvas, integrating First Nations perspectives and creative engagement with the arts. Students deepen their understanding of STEM subjects in the real world by exploring the maths, geometry, architecture and engineering principles of the Sydney Opera House building.

Through a fun and playful design challenge, students connect applied curriculum areas and creative expression. The program is aimed at students in years 9 and 10 – a crucial time when subject selections are made, influencing future career pathways including those relevant to the built environment.

Sixty students from different schools participate in a week-long creative intensive at Sydney Opera House.

Presented by Sydney Opera House

Engineering is not a science. Science studies particular events to find general laws. Engineering design makes use of the laws to solve particular practical problems. In this it is more closely related to art or craft.

Sir Ove Arup

Program Partner

Ove Arup Foundation

“An independent UK charity, the Ove Arup Foundation honours the memory of engineer, designer and philosopher, Sir Ove Arup. By funding educational programmes and initiatives, the foundation drives values of innovation and inclusive design, with a strong emphasis on sustainability and interdisciplinary collaboration.

Sir Ove Arup was involved in the original design of Sydney Opera House, which began in the 1950s, and his firm Arup continues to play a pivotal role in the building’s long-term development and preservation plan.

Danish architect Jørn Utzon won an international competition for the project in 1957. As the industry’s eminent concrete designer, Sir Ove Arup’s contribution was sought early on, and he began to turn Utzon’s freeform sketches into an architectural reality. Sir Ove Arup’s team confronted an engineering challenge that has since become one of the profession’s epic tales – the design and construction of the building’s enormous, precast concrete shells.”

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