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UNSW Sydney UTZON Lecture

17 October 2023

In the Joan Sutherland Theatre

Talks & Ideas

Join Jan and Lin Utzon in conversation – as we journey through the legacy of their father, Jørn Utzon, the visionary architect of the Sydney Opera House. In a brief UNSW Sydney UTZON Lecture, Jan will examine the architectural brilliance of the building that has inspired a nation. This will be followed by a discussion and Q&A with both Jan and Lin – as they reflect on their memories of the design, the build and the dream their father brought to life.

My father and mother encouraged all sorts of curiosity in us kids.

Jan Utzon

Jørn Utzon: through the eyes of his children

This year we celebrate the Sydney Opera House’s 50th anniversary since opening its doors to the world in 1973 and over 60 years since Jørn Utzon was first awarded the design competition. It is timely to reflect and celebrate Utzon’s vision and legacy: the People’s House. 

Jan and Lin Utzon return to Sydney from Denmark to join in the birthday celebrations and reflect on their father’s legacy and their personal involvement in the Opera House. Join moderator Edwina Throsby, with Lin, Jan in conversation as they share personal anecdotes on their time growing up in  Sydney and reflect on their ongoing connections to Australia,  architecture and design. Australian architect Richard Johnson AO will join the panel to share stories on his involvement in Jørn Utzon’s re-engagement with the Opera House in the late 1990s and subsequent involvement in some of the first major upgrades and changes to the building since it was constructed

This special UNSW Sydney UTZON Lecture will be held at the Sydney Opera House in its birthday week, marking thirteen years since UNSW Built Environment’s UTZON lecture series began with an inaugural address by Jan Utzon in 2010.

NSW Government

This program is proudly supported by the NSW Government through Create NSW’s Blockbusters Funding initiative

Meet the speakers

Jan Utzon

Jan Utzon is a Danish architect. He moved to Australia as a teenager with his family when his father, Jørn, won an international design competition to build the Sydney Opera House. Jan studied architecture in Sydney and Denmark and worked on a number of projects including the Performing Arts Centre in Esbjerg. As part of Utzon Architects, he collaborated with his father on several projects including the Parliament Building in Kuwait. In the early 2000s, he worked on Sydney Opera House renewal projects, such as the Western Foyers and Forecourt, and played a significant role in his father’s re-engagement the Opera House at this time.

Lin Utzon

Lin Utzon is a Danish designer who has created a wide variety of abstract decorative works from textiles to ceramics both in Denmark and abroad. She was 15 when her family moved to Australia, where she attended classes in painting and sculpture at East Sydney Technical College in Sydney and later studied textiles in Copenhagen. Like her brother Jan, Lin has worked independently and in collaboration with her father, Jørn. Projects included creating brightly coloured textiles for Bagsværd Church and later working on An Homage to C.P.E Bach tapestry, which hangs in the Utzon Room of the Sydney Opera House.

Professor Richard Johnson AO

Richard Johnson is a Founding Director of Johnson Pilton Walker (JPW) a leading Australian Architectural practice.

His contribution to Architecture and the Arts is recognised by an MBE, The RAIA Gold Medal,  RAIA life Fellow, Life Governor of the AGNSW, Distinguished Alumni UNSW and the Order of Australia.

He is an Honorary Professor at UNSW BE and serves on the City of Sydney Design and Public Art Advisory Panels.

Richard was an advisor to the SOH Trust from 1998 to 2008 and together with JPW collaborated with Jørn Utzon and Jan Utzon on several key SOH projects.

Other information

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