Architect Jørn Utzon, probably the greatest Danish architect, created one of the most magnificent buildings of our time - The Sydney Opera House. Completed in 1973, it is one of the world's great icons and a symbol of Australia. The overall image which it has maintained reflects the brilliant design work that Jørn Utzon invested in the project. Although it has had a troubled history and has been subject to many changes it is now being updated in cooperation with Jørn himself and his son Jan Utzon.
Jørn Utzon was born in 1918 as the son of a naval engineer and studied at the Academy of Arts in Copenhagen. After his studies he traveled through Europe, the United States and Mexico and started his own practice after returning in 1950. The work on the Sydney Opera House started in 1956 and several projects later, the Kuwait National Assembly, Bagsværd Church, the Kingo Housing Project and many others, Jørn Utzon was rewarded architecture's highest honor the Pritzker Prize which he received in 2003.
As Pritzker Laureate and Juror Frank Gehry puts it, "Utzon made a building well ahead of its time, far ahead of available technology, and he persevered through extraordinary malicious publicity and negative criticism to build a building that changed the image of an entire country. It is the first time in our lifetime that an epic piece of architecture has gained such universal presence." In 2007 the Sydney Opera House was declared a World Heritage as the youngest cultural site ever, thereby recognizing Utzon as one of the greatest architects of the 20th century.
Utzon always considers site conditions and program requirements before he designs each building. He transcends architecture as art and develops his forms into poetic inventions that possess thoughtful programming, structural integrity and sculptural harmony.
The late Louis Kahn expressed his feeling for Utzon's work on the Sydney Opera House, "The sun did not know how beautiful its light was, until it was reflected off this building."
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