Utzon, Jørn

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Utzon, Jørn

Jørn Utzon, 1918–2008, Danish architect, grad. Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen (1942). He worked for Eric Gunnar Asplund in Sweden and Alvar Aalto in Finland before opening (1950) his own Copenhagen architectural office. Notable among his early works are several Danish projects: his house at Hedllebæk (1952), a private home at Holte (1953), and two housing developments (1956 and 1957–60). In 1957 Utzon won the Sydney Opera House competition with a design that featured curving saillike roofs, and he moved (1962) to Australia to be close to the project. Soon in conflict with Australia's public works minister over cost overruns and delays, Utzon left the country and the project in 1966. In 1999, however, he was hired by the opera house as a design consultant. His subsequent renovations of the interior were supervised by his architect son Jan, but Utzon never saw his completed masterpiece. His later projects included the Bagsværd Church, Copenhagen (1976), the Kuwait National Assembly building (1982), and the Skagen Nature Center (2001). Utzon was awarded the Pritzker Prize in 2003.

See biography by P. Drew (1999); studies by T. Faber (1991), P. Drew (1995), H. S. Møller and V. Udsen (2004), P. Murray (2004), M. Keiding and K. Dirkinck-Holmfeld, ed. (2005), and A. Watson, ed. (2006); D. Dellora, dir., The Edge of the Possible (documentary film, 1998).

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