Danish architect Utzon, creator of Sydney Opera House, dies at 90

Other News Materials 29 November 2008 18:57 (UTC +04:00)

cclaimed Danish architect Jorn Utzon, best known for his landmark Sydney Opera House, has died, news reports said Saturday. He was 90, dpa reported.

Utzon was born 1918 in Copenhagen but spent his childhood in the Danish city of Aalborg before studying at the Academy of Arts in Copenhagen.

He won the competition to design a national opera house for Australia in 1957. The building was inaugurated in 1973, but Utzon had pulled out of the project in 1966 amid controversy.

The building was in 2007 included as part of the world cultural heritage by the United Nations culture organization UNESCO.

Among architects Utzon said influenced him were Alvar Aalto (1898-1976) of Finland and Gunnar Asplund (1885-1940) of Sweden.

After World War II, Utzon travelled in Europe, the United States and Mexico.

In 1950 he set up his own office in Copenhagen.

He won numerous awards, both in his native Denmark and internationally including the 1998 Sonning Prize and the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2003, sometimes called the Nobel prize for architecture.

Utzon also designed the parliament building of Kuwait.

In May this year, shortly after Utzon turned 90, a centre devoted to Utzon's work was opened in Aalborg. Thousands of original drawings and sketchings are currently being scanned there.

Utzon was "quite unique," Utzon Centre director Adrian Carter told the online edition of the Politiken newspaper that broke the news of Utzon'e death.

"He was a great inspiration for young architects and had a great sense of understanding the essence of the architecture of different cultures."

Utzon's sons Jan and Kim are also architects, while his daughter Lin Utzon has designed vases and a special dinner service for Danish design goup Rosendahl to commemorate the 200-year anniverary of Danish storyteller Hans Christian Andersen's birth.