Utzon's extensive itinerary was highly unusual for the times. The exhibition, organised by the Utzon Center and due to open in April 2018 to mark 100 years since the architect's birth, highlights how these voyages informed his approach to architecture.
“As he went through north Africa, central America and the Middle East, the Pacific and made his way to Australia he went from Nordic functionalism to a distilled creative language that was uniquely his intuition,” said Lasse Andersson, Director of the Utzon Center . “He started to look at symbolic meanings and creative metaphors as well as transcontinental themes.”
Lin Utzon said the Opera House combined the many things her father loved about different civilisations, including the Mayan and Aztec ruins he visited in Mexico, which famously inspired the podium upon which the Opera House stands.
Lin Utzon also recalled how life changed when her father, then aged 38 and comparatively unknown, won the competition to design the Opera House.
“It was a very happy time for me. My parents were deeply devoted to the creative life. To grow up in a home where there was the kind of energy of people making things, it was fabulous. It gives you as a child a feeling that life is possible, and you have a lot of courage to go out and eat life and do things, because it’s possible.”