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In the pantheon of classic modern buildings, Utzon's creation has the status of myth. The myth states that the unknown architect, then in his early thirties, submitted rough sketches to the competition judges, that he ignored most of the rules, that his design was only selected after being plucked at the last moment from the reject pile by one of the judges, and that the design was unbuildable.

Utzon is a great Danish architect who designed the Sydney Opera House. Notice the last sentence:

and that the design was unbuildable

The passage is on my book, and there is a translation after the paragraph, it says the meaning of the last sentence is that "the design was thought to be unbuildable. Truely, the design is surely only thought to be unbuildable, because the Sydney Opera House is right in Australia. The translation is correct. But how can I interpret the passage? Regardless the truth that the Sydney Opera House is really complete, I can only translate the last sentence as "the design was really fanciful and unbuildable". I think the sentence should add thought to after the word "was", just as followed:

and that the design was thought to be unbuildable.

But why is there only a "was" in the sentence? Is the sentence incorrect?

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    The myth states that [he] submitted ..., that he ignored ..., that his design was only selected ..., and that the design was unbuildable. All of those might be true or might be untrue, because it's a myth. Being a myth means some people must think this is true, or at least very likely. This implies that those who believed in the myth had to think that, according to the myth, the design was unbuildable. That's my opinion. – Damkerng T. Dec 8 '13 at 14:55
  • In the judges' mind, the design was unbuildable. – JayHook Dec 8 '13 at 15:54
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    @DamkerngT. I think you can make a very similar sentence, without talking about a myth: "The design he proposed was unbuildable; nobody dared to endorse it..." or "It was an impossible task; they worked day and night..." etc. etc. When I think of this usage, I think mainly of narration about historical events. I think it serves to put you in the mindset of people who, at the time, might have thought the design was truly unbuildable. – ignorantFid Jan 13 '14 at 18:21
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In this example, was thought is indicating the passive voice.

Active voice:

The judges thought the design was [to be] unbuildable.

Passive Voice:

The design was thought to be unbuildable.

There is a specific reason that the passive is more appropriate here; that is, it is unclear whose thoughts/sentiments these are. There is no one source to whom they may be attributed. This also weakens the statement and makes it more questionable and less factual.

Whenever you're uncertain about who made the statement, the passive voice can be more appropriate. This is especially true in journalism.

On the other hand:

But why is there only a "was" in the sentence? Is the sentence incorrect?

In that case, and that design was unbuildable, means that, in fact, the judges determined that it is/was not possible to build.

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