Utzon, Jørn

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Utzon, Jørn,

1918–2008, Danish architect, grad. Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen (1942). He worked for Eric Gunnar AsplundAsplund, Erik Gunnar
, 1885–1940, Swedish architect. He designed the central library of Stockholm (completed 1928), but he is best known for the group of pavilions that he planned for the Stockholm Exhibition of 1930.
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 in Sweden and Alvar AaltoAalto, Alvar
, 1898–1976, Finnish architect and furniture designer. Aalto is considered one of the foremost architects of the 20th cent. Most of his designs were made in collaboration with his first wife, Aino Maria Marsio, 1894–1949, the celebrated furniture
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 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 PrizePritzker Prize,
officially The Pritzker Architecture Prize
, award for excellence in architecture, given annually since 1979. Largely modeled on the Nobel Prize, it is the premier architectural award in the United States and is named for the family that founded the
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 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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Utzon, Jorn

Son of a naval architect. While many of his projects evoked the sea, none did so more than the nautical Sydney opera house with its five prow-like roof structures bowing toward the harbor. Utzon resigned from the project in 1966, and it was completed by government-appointed architects who made major alterations to his interior design. The building has become the symbol of modern Australia. Utzon also designed Kuwait City’s tent-like National Assembly building, the Lutheran Church at Bagsvaerd near Copenhagen, as well as the Houses at Fredensborg, North Zealand, Denmark, and the Kingo Houses, at Elsinore, Denmark. He was the 2003 winner of the Pritzker Architecture Prize.
Illustrated Dictionary of Architecture Copyright © 2012, 2002, 1998 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved