Sydney Opera House Architect Jorn Utzon Dies, But Controversy and Troubles Continue

A sad story from over the long weekend, as it’s been announced that Pritzker Prize winning architect, Jorn Utzon, passed away on Saturday. Utzon, of course, was the designer of the Sydney Opera House, a building he never was able to see completed due to controversy over the budget required to build it and construction concerns over how long it was taking (which also had to do with money). Eventually fed up with the whole thing and the bad press he was hammered by, he returned to Copenhagen, where he spent the remainder of his days. Unfortunately, his death marks the return of a current feud into the public consciousness, as the renovations he drafted back in 2004 have raised a similar storm of anger and controversy as when the building was originally constructed, from financing issues to Utzon’s son and grandson fighting over who should have control over the process:

Jan Utzon and his son, Jeppe, are said to be in dispute over the plans. “It’s getting messed up (by other architects),” Jeppe Utzon told architectural webzine Building Design of the planned renovations. “It will be hard to distinguish who did what. It’s strange they said yes to it.”

But Jan said his son was “not involved in our projects for the Opera House and cannot possibly have any idea of how we work or what our aims are or even what we are doing”.

But on a positive note, Sting got to play at the Opera House this weekend and praised Utzon’s work during his set. So there’s something.