The architect of Sydney Opera House, Jørn Utzon was a relatively unknown 38 year old Dane until January 29, 1957 when his entry, scheme number 218, was announced winner of the ‘International competition for a national opera house at Bennelong Point, Sydney’. With his vision the City of Sydney was to become an international city.
Jørn Utzon was born on April 9,1918 in Copenhagen. He grew up in the town of Aalborg, where his father was a naval architect and engineer and director of the local shipyard. A keen sailor, Utzon originally intended to follow his father as a naval engineer, but opted to study Architecture at the Copenhagen Royal Academy of Arts. He received his Diploma in Architecture from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen. On graduating in 1942, he worked in Sweden until the end of World War II. He was influenced by Gunnar Asplund and Later Alvar Aalto, with whom he worked in Finland for a short period after the war. In 1949 he received a grant that enabled him and his wife Lis to travel extensively in USA and Mexico, coming into contact with some of the most influential architects of his day, like Frank Lloyd Wright’s school at Taliesin, Mies van der Rohe, Ray and Charles Eames, Richard Neutra and others. He was also in Paris meeting with Le Corbusier and the sculptor Henri Laurens, whose influence taught him much about form.