“The ideas as they were developed in the sixties, evolved as the result of the needs and technique at the time.
“As time passes and needs change, it is natural to modify the building to suit the needs and techniques of the day. The changes, however, should be such that the original character of the building is maintained.”
In September 2004, the Reception Hall was re-opened after being redesigned by Utzon. It was re-named the Utzon Room in his honour and is the only authentic Utzon interior within the Sydney Opera House.
The room, which has easterly views of Sydney Harbour, features a 14 metre long, floor-to-ceiling, woollen tapestry that was also designed by Utzon. His first decorative artwork, the design was inspired by CPE Bach's Hamburg Symphonies and Raphael's painting, ''Procession to Calvary''. It was woven over eight months by the Victorian Tapestry Workshop, supervised by Utzon's daughter, the well-known artist Lin Utzon.
Of the naming of the room in his honour, Utzon said: “It gives me the greatest pleasure and satisfaction. I don't think you can give me more joy as the architect. It supersedes any medal of any kind that I could get and have got.”
The Utzon Room was followed by the first alteration to the exterior of the building; the addition of a Colonnade along the western side, which shades nine large glass openings into the previously solid exterior wall. This Utzon-led project, which was completed in 2006, gave the theatre foyers their first view of Sydney Harbour, the windows modelled on those of Can Lis, the house he had built in Majorca. The foyers' interiors were also renovated to Utzon's specifications to become a coherent attractive space for patrons.
On all projects, he worked with his architect son Jan, and Sydney-based architect Richard Johnson of Johnson Pilton Walker.