I wasn’t sure what to expect.. how would the world respond to Utzon’s death? Seeing a full-on Utzon death poster outside a newsagency today, I thought I would have a look around. Journos have painted Utzon as a one-trick pony, albeit with a brilliant Australian trick. Elizabeth Farrelly at the Sydney Morning Herald has done a quick 6 page condensation of Philip Drew’s biography, and it it is quite worth the read. Though it isn’t so much an obit for Utzon as it is for the original Opera house, before it as consigned to a “conspiracy of nobodies” (Drew’s words).
Jack Marx, writing a blog for the Murdoch Empire, plots the course of the Opera House too, dredging up morsels like this, a quote from Bob Carr: “[Premier] Joe Cahill, knowing, I think, he didn’t have long to live, said, ‘I want you to go down to Bennelong Point and make such progress that no-one who succeeds me can stop this going through to completion’.” Point being that they started building it before they knew what it was. Marx says that when Askin became NSW premier in 1965, things immediately went pear-shaped: “the history of the Sydney Opera House does not smile upon Askin and the late Davis Hughes…, who could think of little else to do but withhold the wanker’s cash.” The cost blow out and resignation changed Sydney, he says: No structure even approaching the daring, beauty and originality of Utzon’s Opera House has been attempted again – certainly not in Sydney, where development values efficiency over charm Shame
Worth a flick through the comments too, Isaac of Bondi thinks now is the time to make th eOpera House a little more.. Sydney .
Fresh out of court, Norman Day at The Age kept it brief: “Utzon is dead. His work lives.”
Christopher Hawthorne at the L.A. Times does touch on some of the other buildings, but ends up back at the Opera House and its difficulties: “With the benefit of hindsight it is clear that as the leading symbol for modern Australia the building was a bargain at nearly any price.”
We have to go to The Australian to find an obituary that is more about the man than the building. Philip Drew: “The architect radiated charisma from every pore and possessed great charm that was combined with a beguiling naturalness. He appeared to utterly lack artifice.”
Posted by Peter on 01.12.08 in architects
tags: jørn utzon
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