Sydney Opera House’s Roof Tiles Now on Sale

January 3, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. renovation /ˈrɛnəˌveɪtʃən/ (n.) – the state of repairing to restore something to its normal condition
Example The very old house needs renovation.

2. interior /ɪnˈtɪəriər/ (n.) – the inner part or the inside of something
Example: The house’s interior is carpeted.

3. initially /ɪˈnɪʃəli/ (adv.) – only at first or in the beginning
Example: The plan was initially approved, before it was suddenly cancelled.

4. up for grabs /ʌp fɔr græbs/ (idiom) – available for anyone to get
Example: Anyone can buy the property since it is now up for grabs.

5. shoulder /ˈʃoʊldər/ (v.) – to consider something as one’s own responsibility
Example: The employer shouldered all expenses during the company trip.


Read the text below.
The management of the Sydney Opera House has recently launched a website in which people can virtually buy a roof tile from the building.

The roof tiles were put on sale in order to generate funds for the renovation of the Opera House. The collected fund will then be used to fix the building’s exterior and interior, including the concert acoustics.

Among the millions of roof tiles, only 125,000 will initially be on sale. However, if the demand increases, more tiles will be up for grabs. People who are interested to buy the tiles can visit the website to choose which of the tiles they want to buy. The cost of the tiles varies, ranging from US$90 to US$357.

The buyers will not be able to bring home the tile they purchased as it would remain on the building. However, they can at least share their purchases to family and friends through the social media.

The Sydney Opera House is one of the most important tourist destinations in Australia because of its remarkable architecture. It was recognized by the UNESCO as one of the World Heritage sites in 2007. In October last year, the building celebrated its 40th anniversary.

Currently, the cultural value of the Opera House is about US$4.11 billion. The cost of the renovation is expected to reach over US$895 million. Because the Australian government cannot shoulder the said cost, the building’s management hopes that selling the roof tiles will make the renovation possible.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Would you buy one of the Opera house’s tiles? Why or why not?
·         What similar structure in your country would you want to preserve or renovate? Why?

Discussion B

·         Should the government spend on maintaining cultural buildings? Why or why not?
·         How important are cultural buildings?


January 3, 2014