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Monday 6 April 2009

{Jorn Utzon - a tale of inspiration}

With three work colleagues currently holidaying down under, I was inspired to read up on some of Australia's fantastic and inspiring architecture. I was browsing Borders on the weekend when I stumbled upon Vogue Living Australia - a brilliantly written and photographed magazine, with features on the best of Australian architecture and interior spaces. Whilst reading I felt shocked that I had not considered the country's architectural influence more, so I set off to find out more...

It would be impossible to write about Australia's buildings without a nod to the late Jorn Utzon, the man behind the world-famous Sydney Opera House. I was fascinated to learn that there are 1,056,006 tiles on the roof, which Utzon wished to be glossy but not glaring. It took him three years to find the desired effect - one which was finally produced by a Swedish company, who replicated the look of a Japanese ceramic bowl that Utzon liked. It's fascinating to understand how such a recognisable building came to life - something as simple as a ceramic bowl decided the look of the iconic sail-like roof that stands today. Even more interesting was to learn from a friend that a man named Richard Weston, who lectures at Cardiff University, had a lasting influence over Utzon's works. Utzon said in an interview with The Guardian in 1970 that he had "the best job in the world", as it gave him "the possibility with a number of people to concentrate fantastically upon an extraordinarily great structure for a purpose which was not for profit, but for stimulus of the mind." And well, stimulate the mind he did - let's take a look at the Opera House in all it's glory...

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