Jorn Utzon died peacefully in his sleep in Denmark on Saturday without ever his Sydney Opera House masterpiece. Having run into economic problems, Utzon left Sydney in 1966, three years into the project, never to return. He did, however, oversee detailed plans for the renovation of the opera house but died without knowing whether the $800 million needed for his grand vision would ever be raised.
The man who liked to live “on the edge of the possible” was comfortable revisiting his designs and amending them. “I have made a sculpture,” he said “you will never be finished with it.” Often referring to the great Gothic cathedrals and how they evolved and changed over time, he had “a genuine interest in how people experienced architecture, how they felt, what they saw and how they moved through buildings” said Richard Johnson, the architect who has been working with the Utzons on the renovations of the opera house.
A memorial service will be held in early 2009 and Saturday saw the Sydney Opera House dim its lights for an hour. Watch a tribute video to Utzon here: http://www.sydneyoperahouse.com/utzontribute_video.aspx