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Jørn Utzon

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Jørn Utzon is a Danish architect, who is best known for the Sydney Opera House. Utzon was born on April 9, 1918, in Copenhagen, where he studied architecture. After working in the offices of Paul Hedquist and Gunnar Asplund in Stockholm and for Alvar Aalto, in Helsinki, Utzon set up his own office in Copenhagen in 1950.  

Utzon’s earliest completed buildings were houses, and the success of his design for the Sydney Opera House was unexpected. The building was begun in 1956 but not completed until 1973, and then by other hands. Utzon disassociated himself from the project in 1966, and claimed only the exterior of the building as following his design. Though controversial in every way, the Opera House is one of the few modern buildings to achieve the status of a popular landmark. The concrete shell domes were the result of close collaboration with the Danish engineering company Ove Arup, based in London, who also engineered the London Thames Barrier in a design that is strongly inspired by shell domes of the Sydney Opera House.  

Australia 1983. Jorn Utzon. Architecture. Birthday of H.M. the Queen. The Royal Yacht Britannia entering the harbour in front of Sydney Opera House. Australia. Architecture. Postcard showing a general view of the Opera House.

Australia- Arcjotectire- Am exqiosote voew pf tje Påera Jpise. iå frpmt frp,tje jarbpir- Card used locally in Australia in 1976.

Here are some interesting views of the Opera House on some modern stamps.  The year of issue is rather unimportant for these stamps, as my only aim is to show various "philatelic views" of this impressive building.  Thanks Rodney :-)
Papua New Guenia 1976. Architecture. Sydney Opera House.

Mickey Mouse 
in front of the Sydney Opera :)

Australia. Architecture. Jorn Utzon's Opera House.

The Sydney Harbour Bridge as it looked in 1932, and in the background the Opera House, built 40 years later, in 1973.

The Opera House was never finished by Utzon himself, who left the half-built project in 1966 in a dispute with the South Wales Government about escalating costs.  In September 2004, however, the inside came a step closer to to fulfilling Utzon's original vision, the work being supervised by his daughter, Lin.  The below notice is clipped from Financial Times (London), 18th September 2004  Good to see that the family keeps up the good work :-)

Financial Times 18th September 2004. Jorn Utzon's daughter Lin Utzon, leader of the completion of the Opera House on her father's behalf.

The Opera House was followed by other major public projects, many of which remained unrealized. The National Assembly building in Kuwait was, however, built between 1971 and 1985. The Bagsvaerd Church in Copenhagen (1976) is a major work, taking its cue from Scandinavian tradition.  As an aside, Bagsvaerd is a northern suburb of Copenhagen, only about 10 km away from the webmaster's home.  

Bagsvaerd Church, Copenhagen, exterior. Built by Jorn Utzon. Bagsvaerd Church, Copenhagen, interior. Built by Jorn Utzon.

November 2002 Denmark issued the first five stamps in a series of 20 (to be issued over a time period of 4 years), focusing on 500 years of Danish housing architecture.  The series starts with housing from around the start of the new millennium and works back chronologically to the 16th century.  The 6,50 DKK high value stamp depicts the so-called courtyard houses Fredensbort Terrasses, built in 1963, and designed by Jorn Utzon.  Information from the Danish presentation pack of the full set. 

Denmark 2002. Architecture. Jorn Utzon. Fredensborg Terraces. Fredensborg Terraces. Photograph.

The Fredensborg Terraces is a quite exclusive living area, not only because of the designer, but also the location in the heart of North Zeeland and the vicinity to the royal residence count.  The city of Fredensborg is only about 30 km north of Copenhagen, which makes commuting between home and work easy, both by car and regional train. 

As an aside there is an interesting link between Fredensborg and Australia. Australian born Crown Princess Mary and Crown Prince Frederik have permanent residence in the castle built in the town. 

In June 2007, Sidney Opera House was listed in the UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. 

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