Jørn Utzon: The Architect's Universe

April 12, 2004 /

Louisiana Museum
Humlebæk, Denmark
On view: April 02, 2004 - September 12, 2004

Photo: © Ole Haupt/Frederiksborg Museet

The essence of Danish architect Jørn Utzon's architecture is a fusion of form and structure inspired by nature and the visual universe of other cultures.

Among many major projects around the world Jørn Utzon designed the Sydney Opera House, one of the 20th century's most famous buildings, which has become the icon and symbol of a continent.

Constructed around several themes ranging from the architect's fundamental principles to his specific architectural devices.

The exhibition provides a unique insight to the ideas behind the Sydney Opera House and the various phases of the design and complex construction including the current modernization headed by Utzon's son and partner, architect Jan Utzon.

Photo: © David Messent/Edition Bløndal

A series of narratives, in the form of sketches and written notes, shows how Utzon communicates his ideas to the client.

In addition to the narratives the selected projects are presented through models, photos, drawings, sketches, animations, videos and films.

One part focuses on Utzon's principle of site-specific architecture and his awareness of regional materials; how he draws inspiration from the people with whom he surrounds himself, from nature, and from the many impressions from his journeys to foreign cultures.

Photo: © Bent Ryberg. Planet Foto
Utzon's own house, Can Lis, Mallorca, 1971-73

Another part of the exhibition demonstrates Utzon's ideas of additive architecture; a construction system consisting of a few modules that can be combined according to individual wishes.

Utzon's exploitation of construction principles in the industrial building process is clearly manifested in his Parliament Building in Kuwait (1972-82), a work that furthermore illustrates the architect's focus on, and preoccupation with, both human and aesthetic aspects.

Photo: © Hans Munk Hansen

Utzon's relationship with landscape can be see through, among other works, the Fredensborg courtyard housing (1959-63) where one clearly sees how the houses seem to grow out of the landscape.

Photo: © Arne Magnussen and Vibeke Maj Magnussen

The Bagsværd Church in Denmark shows how Utzon, a master of light, blurs the transition between nature outside and the the sculptural ceiling in the church always changes with a blend of direct and reflected light light that filters through floating clouds.

Photo: arcspace

Photo: arcspace

The exhibition was designed by architect and stage designer Elisabeth Topsøe in close cooperation with Jørn Utzon and his son Jan Utzon. It was organized by exhibition director Kjeld Kjeldsen and museum curator Mette Marcus with  consultant architect and PhD scholar Michael Asgaard Andersen, MAA.


Louisiana Museum

Last updated: December 19, 2013

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