Jørn Denmark and died on November 29, 2008, Copenhagen.

          Jørn Utzon, who born on
April 9, 1918, Copenhagen, Denmark and died on November 29, 2008, Copenhagen. A Danish
architect best known for his dynamic, imaginative, but problematic design for the Sydney Opera House in Australia1. When it was
declared a World
Heritage Site on 28 June 2007, Utzon became only the second person to
have received such recognition for one of his works during his lifetime. Other
noteworthy works include Bagsværd
Church near Copenhagen and the National Assembly
Building in Kuwait. He also made important contributions to
housing design, especially with his Kingo Houses near Helsingør.

             Utzon’s father was the beginner that let his
career journey start. His father was a director of a shipyard in Alborg,
Denmark, also a brilliant naval architect. Many of his father yacht designs are
still in production until now. Among in his family members, few of them were
excellent yachtsmen.  And the young Jørn
was a good sailor himself. At the age of 18, he considered a career as a naval
officer. When he was in secondary school, he began to help his father at the
shipyard, studying new designs, drawing up plans and making models. This
activity comes up with another possibility that Utzon training to be a naval
architect like his father.

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           However,
when Utzon spend his holidays during summer with his grandparents, he had been
influenced. There he met two artists, Paul Schrøder and Carl Kyberg. They
introduced him to art. Einar Utzon-Frank, one of his father’s cousins, who was
a sculptor as well as a professor at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, provided
Jorn additional inspiration. Jørn took an interest in sculpting. At one point,
Jorn indicated he might want to be an artist, but was convinced that
architectural school would be the best career path at the last. Even though his
mathematics marks were poor in secondary school, but his excellent freehand
drawing talents were strong enough to get his admission to the Royal Academy of
Fine Arts in Copenhagen. He was soon recognized as having extraordinary
architectural gifts.

           When he
graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts at the Copenhagen School of Architecture in 1942, he was like
many architects of that time, fled to neutral Sweden because of World War II. He
was employed in the Stockholm office of Hakon Ahlberg for the duration of the
war about 3 years. He also studied in United States for a six month period in
1946. After that he went to Finland and worked in the office of the Finnish architect and designer Alvar Aalto and won traveling
scholarships to Morocco and the US whilst also designing ranges of furniture
and glassware. He had begun to admire the ideas of Gunnar Asplund, as well
as Frank Lloyd while still in school. Utzon acknowledges that Aalto, Asplund
and Wright were all major influences. Over the next decade, he travelled
extensively, visiting Morocco, Mexico, the United Wright States, China, Japan,
India, and Australia, the latter destined to become a major factor in his life.
All of the trip have significance to him. The ideas gain from the trip had
manifest itself in many design works of Utzon over the time, especially the
Sydney Opera House.

Utzon’s ambition as a young designer was
seemingly boundless. Ten years before he submitted his winning entry for the
opera house in Sydney, Utzon had entered a competition in London to design a replacement for the Crystal Palace, which he did not win. As noted in The Guardian’s obituary of Utzon, the submission
demonstrated that the UK’s capital once had the chance to “build something
just as extraordinary as the opera house” with a design that was
“personal, sculptural and quite outside the mainstream of architectural
development at the time.” Some argue that Utzon’s architectural style
correlated with that of Eero Saarinen (who was also a judge for the opera house competition),
architect of the TWA terminal at New York’s Kennedy airport.

In 1966, nine years after his winning entry was
accepted by the opera house competition jury, Utzon was driven to resign his
position and leave Australia. Those in power
had deliberately underestimated costs in order to get the project started; when
costs soared, Utzon, it appears, took the majority of the blame, leading to a
number of arguments with local and national politicians. His strong,
collaborative friendship with Ove Arup another Dane, also turned sour over the Opera House project. It
has become the most famous, certainly the most photographed, building of the
20th century. It is now hailed as a masterpiece—Jørn Utzon’s masterpiece.

 

         

But Jørn Utzon has contributed far more than one masterpiece
in his lifetime. As noted architectural author and critic Ada Louise Huxtable
points out in her Pritzker Jury comments, “In a forty year practice, each
commission displays a continuing development of ideas both subtle and bold,
true to the teaching of early pioneers of a ‘new’ architecture, but that cohere
in a prescient way, most visible now, to push the boundaries of architecture
toward the present. This has produced a range of work from the sculptural
abstraction of the Sydney Opera House that foreshadowed the avant garde
expression of our time, and is widely considered to be the most notable
monument of the 20th century, to handsome, humane housing and a church that
remains a masterwork today.”

 

 

1 http://www.eoi.es/blogs/cristinagarcia-ochoa/2012/01/14/the-sidney-opera-house-construction-a-case-of-project-management-failure/

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