Write a 2 pages paper on compare and contrast two different architectural structures that have similarities and differences. Comparison of Taj Mahal and Sydney Opera House The Taj Mahal in India and Sydney Opera House in Australia are the two buildings which depict evolution of art and architecture with time in different regions of the world. Both of these structures have been included in the UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites and are one of the finest works of architecture in the world. Taj Mahal which is considered as the most sophisticated example of Mughal architecture whereas Sydney Opera House is a stupendous depiction of modern Expressionist design.

Domes and Spheres

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The marble dome of the tomb of Taj Mahal is the most spectacular feature in the building and traces its origins from Persian and Muslim architecture. The dome covers the 3025 m2 of the base and has a height of around 35 meters. The dome is decorated with tall spires and lotus design providing a blend of Persian architecture with Hindustani decorative element (DuTemple).i

The spheres of the Sydney Opera House which form the roof of the structure are the most extravagant attribute of the building. The spheres depict the earliest advancements in structural engineering as the irregular shape of each sphere was subjected to numerous asymmetrical forces (Shofner). The amazing appearance of the spheres was achieved by covering them with glossy white and matte-cream colored tiles imported from Sweden. ii

Although there is an evident difference between the ways the two structures appear, but the roof designs in the form of domes and spheres have marked similarities as well. both the structures have curved roofs with a pleasant white appearance. The marble domes of Taj Mahal were constructed using the traditional Mughal construction technique with massive brick scaffolding, whereas precast concrete members were used to construct the spheres of Opera House.

Decorative Calligraphy and Wood Cladding

The exterior and much of the interior of Taj Mahal has been decorated with gemstones embedded in bronze. Large calligraphy panelsiii run from ground up to the arches and Islamic calligraphic inscriptions have been manually inscribed on the stone panels with astonishing precision.iv The magnificent arches and the intricate jalis are the other outstanding features of the interior.v

Interior of Taj Mahal is an exemplary piece of work of Mughal architecture, similarly the interior of Sydney Opera House with its plain and topaz tinted glass, birch plywood and aluminum panelsvi is a perfect depiction of modern architecture in which prime importance is given to the function of the building (Murray). Wood cladding has been used in much of the interior of the Opera House in order to support the acoustics. Similarly the granite tiles have been used to give a dark look to the walls in order to keep the focus of audience on the stage.vii


Taj Mahal and Sydney Opera House are two of the most influential works of architecture in the world. The world was introduced to Mughal architecture through the Taj Mahal, without it the world could not have discovered one of the greatest architectures in the history of mankind (Koch). Similarly, Sydney Opera House is considered as a benchmark in the history of expressionist architecture and after the construction of Opera House, the world came to know about the positives of this form of architecture. Moreover, the use of computers for actual structural designs was first carried out during the construction of the spheres of Opera House. therefore it actually revolutionized structural engineering and opened a new dimension in architectural and construction industry.

Works Cited

DutTemple, Lesley. The Taj Mahal. N.p.: Twenty-First Century Books, 2003. Print.

Koch, Ebba. The Complete Taj Mahal. N.p.: Thames & Hudson Ltd., 2011. Print.

Murray, Peter. The Saga of Sydney Opera House: The Dramatic Story of the Design andConstruction of the Icon of Modern Australia. N.p.: Spon Press, 2004. Print.

Shofner, Shawndra. Sydney Opera House. N.p.: The Creative Company, 2006. Print.

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