Utzon’s new landmark sets sail

28 Jun

Joyce Morgan June 2, 2008 SMH

The landmark Utzon Centre has opened in Denmark with an exhibition about the Sydney Opera House.

The $16 million centre in Aalborg, where the Sydney Opera House’s architect, Joern Utzon, spent his childhood, will be a venue for discussions about architecture, design and art.

The harbourfront building was designed by Joern and his son Kim Utzon. It consists of a series of pavilions around a central courtyard and makes extensive use of natural light.

Richard Evans, the chief executive of the Sydney Opera House, who attended the opening, says he was delighted to see Utzon’s greatest work celebrated.

He hopes the exhibition, organised by the former Powerhouse Museum curator Anne Watson, will be the first of many cultural exchanges between the centre and Australia.

The Australian connection will continue in August when the architect Richard Leplastrier is expected to teach at its summer school.

The centre’s director, Adrian Carter, says Utzon’s unique approach to design had been informed by his experience in his youth of boatbuilding in Aalborg. This inspired him to conceive the Opera House’s boat-like shells.

Utzon grew up in Aalborg between the world wars after his father was appointed naval engineer at the Aalborg shipyard.

Carter believes that the centre, like Utzon’s Sydney Opera House, will come to define the Danish city.



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