SAW 2 - Utzon tour reconvenes


After a winters break, the SAW2 Utzon tour reconvenes on Saturday.

Both an in-depth and textured portrait of enigmatic Danish architect Joern Utzon, as well as the story of perhaps the 20th Centuries most ambitious architectural project, 'Utzon' draws the listener into the amazing visionary world of the architect of the Sydney Opera House.

His work was beautiful yet transcended the purely aesthetic. He worked hard yet projected the image of a balanced life. He proclaimed himself a builder more than an architect and prior to his ground-breaking competition entry in 1957 he had only a few small houses to his name.

Discussing the sources of the young Dane's deepest inspiration, his working methods and influences, we will chart the development of Utzon's ideas and their materialisation in the platform, concrete shells and ceramic skin of Sydney Opera House. You will discover the influence of towering 20th Century figures like Le Corbusier, Alvar Aalto, Eero Saarinen, Mies van der Rohe, Frank Lloyd Wright and even Picasso on Utzon's thinking, his interest in the methods of Gaudi and you will discover the ways in which his work was at once contemporary whilst drawing its inspiration from the work of the ancients.

Utzon's epic accomplishment is rivalled only by his tragic tale. Booted out mid-construction by the Askin Government in 1966, Utzon considered the six years he spent developing the interiors of the House - none of which were realised - the most productive of his career. Using discarded drawings, models and prototypes, Utzon's design of the acoustic interiors, glass walls and furniture - much of it ready for construction before he left - will be discussed and you can judge for yourself how much Sydney lost when he was forced to leave the building half-finished.

The tour finishes with the recent Opera House refurbishment, a decade-long collaboration between Jørn, his architect son Jan and Sydney architect Richard Johnson.

Sydney Architecture Walks