Thursday 02 Jul 2020 | 22:21 | SYDNEY
Thursday 02 Jul 2020 | 22:21 | SYDNEY

Joern Utzon gift to Australia and the world


Sam Roggeveen


2 December 2008 14:04

I was seven when my family came to Australia from The Netherlands. I knew almost nothing about Australia (not even the language), but I knew Sydney had skyscrapers, which was terribly exciting for a boy who had never seen a building of more than ten stories. And I knew about the Opera House.  

When I finally got to see Sydney for real, the big buildings made an impression. But scale, on its own, has a bludgeoning effect, so I don't recall any refined emotions. The Opera House, on the other hand — oh, boy. I couldn't quite believe this impossible building was real. And if anything, the beauty and precision of its lines, and the cleanness of its white skin, set off by the blue harbour water, was even more vivid in real life than in photos. 

I like to think other visitors and immigrants to this country are also inspired when they see the Sydney Opera House, and that is the best tribute I can think of to the man who created it, Joern Utzon, who has died, aged 90. He created a glorious symbol of Australia's youth, vitality and openness to the world. It is a magnificent legacy.

Photo by Flickr user rikrak, used under a Creative Commons license.