The Utzon Centre in Denmark will celebrate the centenary of Jørn Utzon’s birth on 9 April with a major exhibition, which will be shown at the Sydney Opera House in October, in celebration of its 45th anniversary.

Utzon’s photograph from Iran, 1959
Utzon’s photograph from Iran, 1959 © Jørn Utzon

Titled Horisont (“horizon”), the exhibition explores Utzon’s inspirations and influences, and focus on a period of his travels in his early career between graduation and his return to Denmark following his departure from Australia in 1966.

Utzon visited a number of ancient ruins around the world and studied foreign building traditions. The exhibition links these influences to some of his most notable buildings, including the Sydney Opera House, the Bagsværd Church, his own house in Hellebæk, the Can Lis house in Portopetro on Majorca and the Kuwait National Assembly Building. 

The exhibition also includes unbuilt works like the Langelinie Pavilion in Copenhagen – a competition entry for which Utzon won third prize; a design for the Silkeborg Art Museum, and a subterranean theatre at Jeita Grotto in Beirut.

The exhibition also includes rarely seen photographs, film recordings, models, drawings and other original material from Utzon’s own archive.