The Australian Institute of Architects has opposed the decision of the NSW Government to allow the Sydney Opera House sails to be lit up with commercial material.

Sydney Opera House chief executive Louise Herron had earlier opposed the use of the sails of the World Heritage listed building in a manner that would contravene the policy of the organisation.

While supporting Louise Herron for upholding the policy of her organisation, NSW Chapter president Andrew Nimmo says that the management has a duty to the people of New South Wales to protect the Opera House from exploitation.

Describing the Sydney Opera House as Australia’s greatest building, which is recognised around the world, he observed that the World Heritage listing comes with a responsibility to treat the building with respect and dignity. It is not an advertising billboard, he noted.

Though the commercial benefit of projecting onto the Opera House cannot be denied, he said the integrity of the heritage building as a cultural icon should be maintained and not trashed.

Observing the increasing commercialisation of major public spaces to serve private commercial interests, he added that a new precedent may have been set where exclusive commercial interests have been supported by government over public benefit.