Musings: Sydney Opera House Architect passes Away on 29 November 2008

While a beautifully architectured Moghul Palace, The Taj, built by George the Fifth in the 18 century suffered at the hands of terrorist attacks in  Mumbai, it seems almost a coincidence that at the other end of the world a great architect, designer and visionary quietly passed away. As if leaving a message to the world to stop this madness!!

An architect whose Architecture is termed ‘World Architecture’ for his well known National Assembly of Kuwait resembles the Ancient Tents buildings  the Sydney Opera House, the National Assembly in Kuwait, the Parliament and the adjoining Mosque in its surrounds and many others. He did not hesitate to delve into cultures and learn from ancient Islamic architecture and modern engineering for he believed the very basis of architecture was the same at its root. This Architect is none other than Jorn Utzon the Danish Architect whose buildings have recieved world acclaim.  

Utzon while drawing the iconic sails of the Sydney Opera House in 1957 little knew what he created. He successfully captured the very spirit of the City, the life and ways of Australians. Whilst the outside features of the Opera House were built in accordance with Utzon’s ideas, the Government after nine years could not fund the internal Halls of the Opera House to Utzon’s design and standards. Utzon had a bitter falling out with the Authorities and left Australia in 1966 never to return. The Sydney Opera House was completed after a further seven years.  Sydney Opera House

The rift between Utzon and Australia was settled finally in 1998 when he said that he cannot be bitter about anything in life”. He was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2003, for the most beautifully architectured iconic building of the 20th century, bestowed with a honorary doctorate from the University of Sydney, and given the Title of The Order of Australia and the keys to the City of Sydney.

To pay tribute to this great visionary, the Opera House shall dim its lights in his honour and the Australian Flag shall fly at half mast on the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Swami Vivekananda’s saying comes to my mind “Nothing great is created without great sacrifice”. A beautiful life that enriched the world with ideas and vision like no other !!


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