Portsmouth School of Architecture

Jørn Utzon Research Network

The Jørn Utzon Research Network (JURN) is designed to expose Jørn Utzon's design paradigm to the international academic community through the development and management of the Jørn Utzon archive. This archive, comprising some 25,000 drawings and sketches, notebooks, sketchbooks, photographs and film provides a unique insight to the work and influences of one of the most influential architects of the twentieth century.

Utzon's canon represents a particular thematic framework, focused upon a phenomenological approach to design developed through a broad engagement with context and place, nature and landscape, trans-cultural influences and what we now term sustainable architecture.

His seminal work, the Sydney Opera House, is well-documented and recognised internationally as the symbol of not only a city but also a nation. Utzon's importance extends far beyond the sphere of influence of one building; however significant. He is now recognised as one of the most original, innovative and socially concerned of modern architects, and the last great exponent of the humanistic Nordic tradition within modern architecture.

Of particular academic interest is the transcultural dimension of Utzon's work. His extensive travels to Europe, America and North Africa provided significant influences that he re-interpreted within his own cultural and climatic context. Such trans cultural dexterity combined with his speculative intuition, provides us with a fascinating paradigm of architectural theory and practice within our contemporary globalised world.

The Jørn Utzon archive has been little accessed, at least in part due to Utzon's modesty and that the archive has until now, remained in his family's possession. Now moving into the ownership of the University of Aalborg in Utzon's home town, the academic potential of the archive can be realised, managed interrogated and disseminated. The University of Aalborg houses the Jørn Utzon Research Center, dedicated to research and dissemination of Utzon's work that will provide a focus for JURN activity.

The objective of JURN is to manage and develop academic engagement with the archive and promote research and dissemination through academic networks and a series of planned events. Themed exhibitions and workshops will culminate in an international Jørn Utzon Symposium, scheduled for summer 2013. All activities will be disseminated virtually and actually through a dedicated web presence, published symposium and workshop proceedings, academic journal articles and conference Papers. In addition, Network members will be encouraged to conduct themed research, again disseminated through academic journal articles and conference papers.  Such breadth of dissemination will have a significant impact upon the academic understanding of Utzon's work and methodology drawing upon a unique and significant repository of a particular and internationally important architectural paradigm relevant to our contemporary world.