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SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE- INSPIRED BY NATURE
(Jorn Utzon)

Thanks to: 'Opera House Inspired by Nature' video, for information and pictures - Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point, GPO Box 4274 Sydney NSW 2001

 
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Jorn Utzon was a relatively unknown Danish architect in the 1950s, until he won the competition to design the National Opera House in Sydney Australia, in 1956. He was born in 1918, the son of a naval engineer. He studied architecture at the Copenhagen Royal Academy of Arts and much of his early work was in Sweden. He travelled widely and met many of the best known designers of the era. These included Mies van der Rohe and Charles Eames. In 1950 he opened his own Architectural business.

The design of the Sydney Opera House was inspired by nature, its forms, functions and colours. Utzon was influenced in his designs by bird wings, the shape and form of clouds, shells, walnuts and palm trees. He looked upon nature for guidance when designing, as nature over time combined both efficiency and beauty, hand in hand.

The roof structures of the Opera House are called ‘shells’. The design of the ‘shells’ was one of the most difficult aspects of the building’s design. Jorn Utzon claimed that the final design of the shells, was inspired by peeling an orange. It is said that the shells of the 14 separate roofs, form a sphere if combined.

Jorn Utzon was one of the pioneers in the use of prefabricated modular forms and designing for sustainability.

The Sydney Opera House was opened in 1973 by Queen Elizabeth

 
 
 
The diagram below shows how the design from orange peel to ‘shell’ roof evolved.
 
 
Shapes, forms and nature that inspired Jorn Utzon
 
 
 
 
EARLY MODEL OF THE SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE
 
 
IMAGES OF THE SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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