JUST after dawn one recent morning, Lou Rosicky was walking, slightly stooped through a covered  catwalk tucked just below the tip of one of the towering concrete sails of the Sydney Opera House.

Around him was an almost impenetrable mechanical thicket - pipes, wires, machinery and conduit, all servicing amplifiers, control-boards, lights, sprinkler systems, winches and cooling ducts. The feel? The gullet of cyborg, circa 1964.

''The weight of history is everywhere in this building,'' Mr. Rosicky said. He is the opera house complex's point man in a vast renovation project aimed at bringing all those innards up to date.

The endeavor, budgeted at close to 300 million Australian dollars, or nearly $200 million, culminated with the closure of the complex's concert hall for the first time in its history.

The hall has in the past been open 363 days a year, a point of pride, but it was closed in February for the start of a two-year upgrade.

Miles of wire and piping will be removed and replaced. Huge heating, cooling and electrical banks will be dismantled and relocated. Winches capable of holding four tons each will be placed above the auditorium's ceiling, their movements fully digitized. New audio and lighting systems are being designed and installed.

As the building approaches its 50th birthday, in 2023, the interventions are necessary. While its architect, Jorn Utzon, is now widely recognized as a visionary and his creation is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the hall's construction was troubled, and certain problems have never been solved.

Years of testing have produced a new plan for the concert hall's accoustics - as well as for more mundane matters.

''The air conditioning system is hopeless,'' said Rory Jeffes, the leader of Opera Australia, who for many years was managing director of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, which plays in the opera house.
''It blows out of canon ports up above, and then falls onto the stage and very often turns the pages of musicians as they play.''

The complex has been in constant use since it opened. It hosts nearly 2,000 events a year, attended by about 1.4 million people, in five theaters and two outdoor spaces. A total of nearly 11 million visitors per year tramp around the public spaces, inside and out.

Louise Herron, the opera house's chief executive, arrived eight years ago for what she saw as an opportunity to finally accomplish the rehabilitation the institution had been eyeing for decades.

'' I said, 'I would like to renew the opera house for future generations,' '' she recalled.

The honor and serving of the latest operational research on face lift for Sydney Icon, continues. The World Students Society thanks author Bill Wyman.


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