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Farewell to Jorn Utzon, creator of the Sydney Opera House
November 30, 2008
One of the greatest contemporary architects, Jørn Utzon died yesterday morning, at the age of 90, due to a heart attack in his sleep, at his home in Copenhagen.
Son of a naval engineer, the Danish architect received his degree from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen. He began his career doing pupillage in the firms of Gunnar Asplund and Alvar Aalto; he also earned experience at Taliesin West with Frank Lloyd Wright. Once he had opened his own firm, he made world news at the age of 38 for his surprise win of the competition for the realisation of the Sydney Opera House, the building that would become one of the icons of twentieth-century architecture and the symbol of Australia. Utzon had read the announcement of the competition in a Swedish architecture magazine, and the jury headed by Eero Saarinen defined his project as “ingenious”, selecting it from among the 232 participating projects.
Utzon moved to Sydney to follow the realisation of the work, but profound disagreements arose with the client during construction, and led him to abandon the construction site in 1966. He did not return to Australia and never saw the Sydney Opera House completed.
In 2003, he was awarded the Pritzker Prize, the world’s highest honour in the field of architecture.
 
 
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