The architect of one of the most iconic buildings of the past century, the Sydney Opera House, has passed away at age 90.
“Jørn Utzon will be remembered as one of the world’s most outstandingly original and humane architects, who created Denmark’s best housing and the most iconic and popular building in the world, the Sydney Opera House, that has come to define not only a city, but the entire nation of Australia.”
These words of remembrance from the Utzon Center in the architect’s hometown of Aalborg, Denmark, solidify the notion that the Danish architect’s international presence was just as important as his national presence. Pritzker prize winning Utzon, however, was not always revered in this manner. Whilst in the process of following through his design for the monumental Sydney Opera House Utzon fell foul of the authorities amidst budget and design disputes and left the project, and Australia, seven years before its completion, never returning to see the completed building.
Last night however floodlights which usually illuminate the curved sails of the building were dimmed in honour of the building’s father. Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd added to this poignant symbolism by releasing a statement for Utzon: “In the great sweep of history, what we're left with is a beautiful building, Sydney's symbol to the world, Australia's symbol to the world and owed in large part to this great man — a son of Denmark but I've got to say in terms of his spirit, a son of Australia as well," Rudd said.