He was born in Copenhagen as the son of a naval engineer. He studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Denmark. He spent the years of World War II studying with Erik Gunnar Asplund. Then he traveled extensively throughout Europe, the United States and Mexico. On his return he established himself as an architect in Copenhagen.
As a result of the interests of his family in the Arts, from 1937 he attended the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Denmark where he studied under Kay Fisker and Steen Rasmussen Eller. After graduation in 1942, he joined the studio of Erik Gunnar Asplund in Stockholm where he worked with Arne Jacobsen and Poul Henningsen. It was then that he was particularly interested in the work of American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. After the end of World War II and the German occupation of Denmark, he returned to Copenhagen
In 1946, he visited Alvar Aalto in Helsinki. Between 1947-1948 he traveled Europe in 1948 went to Morocco where he admired the high adobe buildings. In 1949, he traveled to the United States and Mexico, where the pyramids inspired him. Fascinated by the way in which the Maya built skyward to be closer to their God. He said the time he spent in Mexico was "one of the best architectural experiences in my life." In the US, he visited the home of Frank Lloyd Wright, Taliesin West, in the Arizona desert and met Charles and Ray Eames.
In 1992 he received the Wolf Prize in Arts. In March 2003, Utzon was awarded honorary doctorates by the University of Sydney in recognition of his building project of the Opera. Utzon was ill and could not travel to Australia for that purpose, so that it represented his son in the investiture ceremony. It may not be present at the celebrations of the 30th anniversary of the building, for which Utzon was redesigning some areas, such as the main lobby. In 2003 he was also given the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize.
José Juan Barba (1964) graduated from ETSA Madrid in 1991. Special Mention in the National Finishing University Education Awards 1991. PhD in Architecture ETSAM, 2004. He founded his professional practice in Madrid in 1992 (www.josejuanbarba.com), he is architecture critic and editor-in–chief of METALOCUS magazine since 1999, he was advising different NGOs until 1997. He has been a lecturer (in Design, Theory and Criticism, and Urban planning) and guest lecturer at different national and international universities (Roma TRE, Polytechnic Milan, ETSA Madrid, ETSA Barcelona, UNAM Mexico, Univ. Iberoamericana Mexico, University of Thessaly Volos, FA de Montevideo, Washington, Medellin, IE School, U.Alicante, Univ. Europea Madrid, UCJC Madrid, ESARQ-U.I.C. Barcelona,...).
Maître de Conférences IUG-UPMF Grenoble 2013-14. Full assistant Professor, since 2003 up to now at the University of Alcalá School of Architecture, Madrid, Spain. And Jury in competitions as Quaderns editorial magazine (2011), Mies van der Rohe Awards, (2010-2019), Europan13 (2015). He has been invited to participate in the Biennale di Venezia 2016 as part "Spaces of Exception / Spazi d'Eccezione".
He has published several books, the last in 2016, "#positions" and in 2015 "Inventions: New York vs. Rem Koolhaas, Bernard Tschumi, Piranesi " and collaborations on "Spaces of Exception / Spazi d'Eccezione", "La Mansana de la discordia" (2015), "Arquitectura Contemporánea de Japón: Nuevos territorios" (2015)...
- Award. RENOVATION OF SEGURA RIVER ENVIRONMENT, Murcia, Sapin, 2010.
- First Prize, RENOVATION GRAN VÍA, “Delirious Gran Vía”, Madrid, Spain, 2010.
- First Prize, “PANAYIOTI MIXELI Award”. SADAS-PEA, for the Spreading of Knowledge of Architecture Athens, 2005.
- First Prize, “SANTIAGO AMÓN Award," for the Spreading of Knowledge of Architecture. 2000.
- Award, “PIERRE VAGO Award." ICAC -International committee of Art Critics. London, 2005.
- First Prize, C.O.A.M. Madrid, 2000. Shortlisted, World Architecture Festival. Centro de Investigación e Interpretación de los Ríos. Tera, Esla y Orbigo, Barcelona, 2008.
- First Prize. FAD AWARD 07 Ephemeral Interventions. “M.C.ESCHER”. Arquin-Fad. Barcelona, Sapin 2007.