Danish Architect Jørn Utzon Dies at 90

Words: Bronzella Cleveland

JanuaryFebruary 2009
Industry News

Danish Architect 
Jørn Utzon Dies at 90

Danish architect Jørn Utzon, the genius behind the design of the Sydney Opera House, died in Copenhagen on Nov. 29, 2008. Utzon was 90 years old. A Pritzker Prize winner in 2003, Utzon was best known for the sail-inspired design of the Opera House, but spent most of his career designing buildings in his native Denmark. His death (from heart failure) was reported in newspapers around the world. In this country, the Los Angeles Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne wrote of Utzon on Nov. 30: Like Aalto, Saarinen and Wright, Utzon helped push his profession away from dogmatic disputes about how much to acknowledge architectural history and precedent and toward an era of freer experimentation with the forms made possible by new engineering. His career provided a bridge between doctrinaire Modernists, for whom any curve, twist or functionless flourish was a betrayal of first principles, and expressionistic contemporary architects such as Frank Gehry, Santiago Calatrava and Zaha Hadid. MD

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