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Jørn Utzon
, 1965 (printed 2006)

by Jozef Vissel

gelatin silver photograph (sheet: 30.3 cm x 40.3 cm, image: 27.3 cm x 34.3 cm)

Jørn Utzon

Jørn Utzon AC (1918-2008), architect, designed the Sydney Opera House. Utzon designed his first building of note, his own home in Copenhagen, in 1952. Just four years later he won the international competition to build the Opera House. He arrived in Australia with the plans in 1963. Construction got off to a premature start, and Utzon's brief changed at Stage 1. By 1964 he was in dispute with the government over his choice of subcontractors for Stage 3. In 1965 a newly elected government, having promised to 'do something' about rising costs on the project, demanded detailed plans and firm timelines; Utzon was also battling his engineering firm, Ove Arup. He resigned in 1966, after the Minister for Public Works stopped paying him. The Opera House was completed in 1973, with interiors totally different from Utzon's models. Utzon was named an Honorary AC in 1985, and in 1999 he and his architect son Jan were appointed 'consultants' to ensure that any future changes to the building would accord with his design principles. In 2003 he was awarded architecture's outstanding honour, the Pritzker Prize.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of the artist 2005
Accession number: 2005.116