When Utzon met Le Corbusier. Final touch to the Sydney Opera House: a Le Corbusier tapestry

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Jørn UTZON

Jørn Utzon was a Danish architect, best known for making the project of the Sydney Opera House, and as the winner of the Pritzker Prize in 2003.

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.

Charles Édouard Jeanneret LE CORBUSIER

Charles Édouard Jeanneret-Gris was born in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland in 1887. He is best known as Le Corbusier, one of the most important architects of the XX Century that together with Walter Gropius, Ludwig Mies van der Rore and Frank Lloyd Wright rise up as the fathers of the Modern Architecture. In his long career he worked in France, Germany, Switzerland, the United States, Argentina, India and Japan.

Jeanneret was admited in the Art School of La Chaux-de-Fonds in 1902. He knew there Charles l’Éplattenier, his first teacher, and he became interested in architecture. He built his first house, Villa Fallet, in 1906 and one year later he set out his first great journey to Italy. From 1908-1909 he worked in Perret Bother’s Studio, where he focussed on the employment of the concrete and from 1910-1911 he coincided with Mies van der Rohe in this studio in Berlin.

In 1917, Charles Édouard Jeanneret set up finally in Paris. The next year he met the painter Amedée Ozenfant and he displayed his first paints and wrote his first book, Après le Cubismo. In 1919 he founded the magazine l´Esprit nouveau, where he published unnumbered articles, signing with the pseudonym Le Corbusier for first time.

He opened his own Studio in 1922, in the number 35 of the rue de Sèvres. In this decade in when his laboratory epoch started and he carried out great number of activities as painter, essayist and writer. But also as architect he planned some of the most recognizable icons of the modern architecture and developed the principles of the free plan. Some of this works are: the Villa Roche-Jeanneret, the Villa Savoye in Poissy and the Siedlungweissenhof’s houses built in Stuttgart in 1927. It should be pointed out that at the same time; he set out the “five points” of the architecture.

Le Corbusier projected “The contemporary three million population city” in 1922 and in 1925 put forward the Voisin plan of Paris, which are one of his most important urban proposals. Three years later, in 1928, through his initiative the CIAM were created and in 1929 he published his first edition of the Oeuvre Complète.

In the 30s, he collaborated with the magazines Plans and Prélude, where he became enthusiastic about the urbanism and he started, in 1930, to elaborate the drawings of the “Radiant City” as a result of the “Green City” planned for Moscu, his project would be summarized in the “Radiant Villa”, which was enclosed with the projects for Amberes, Stockholm and Paris. By 1931 he presented Argel, a proposal that composed the Obus Plan. And in 1933 the 4th CIAM passed of and there he edited the Athens Document.

Le Corbusier, in 1943, he Developer the “Three Human Establishments Doctrine” and founded the Constructors Assembly for the Architectural Renovation (ASCORAL). He made the project the Unite d´habitation of Marsella in 1952, which was the first one of a serial of similar buildings. At the same time the works of the Chandigarh in India began, where he planned the mean governmental buildings. Nevertheless, in the same decade, he worked in France too, in the Notre-Dame-du-Haut chapel in Ronchamp, in the convent of La Tourette in Éveux, Jaoul’s houses in Neuilly and the Unites d´habitation of Rézé-lès-Nantes, Briey-en-Forêt and Firminy.

He wrote and Publisher his worldwide known study of the Modulor in 1948 followed by a second part in 1953. Meanwhile the next Le Corbusier’s books had a more autobiographic nature, among them the Le poème de l'angle droit (1955), l'Atelier de la recherche patiente (1960) and Mise aupoint (1966) stand out.

Le Corbusier, in the end of his life, created many projects that would not be built, for example a calculus centre for Olivetti en Rho, Milan; a congress in Strasbourg, the France embassy in Brasilia and a new hospital in Venice.

He dead drowned the 27th of August of 1965 in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin.

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