jørn utzon, architect: kingohusene courtyard houses, helsingør 1956-1960

kingohusene courtyard houses, helsingør / elsinore, denmark 1956-1960

architect: jørn utzon, 1918-2008


looking from private courtyard to neighbour.


kingohusene was the first large scale project in which utzon was able to pursue his ideas fully. he acted as his own developer with backing from his father. they managed to afford building a single house after which they invited the press and potential buyers. the project was an instant success. it was among the cheapest housing on the marked at the time, the utzons aiming it at the workers at the local elsinore shipyard.


they are not cheap anymore.


when the sydney opera house competition was won only months later, several of utzon's own employees moved in. some are still there.


it is an early example of utzon's uncanny ability to create a synthesis out of extremely diverse sources: everyone will recognize the traditional chinese courtyard house and the chinese gables, yet the treatment of the masonry refers more to p.v. jensen-klint's reinterpretation of hanseatic gothic and the implied ruskinian principles herein. the almost windowless street facades remind us of islamic courtyard houses rather than chinese and of utzon's great love of the architecture of morocco and iran. frank lloyd wright is also present, especially in the facades towards the courtyard.


sverre fehn called utzon's work "world architecture" - consider for a moment how far removed the image above is from the international style of MoMA's 1932 exhibition.


each plot is 15 by 15 meters and there are 60 houses in the entire development which was built in three stages from 1957-1960.


this photo was uploaded with a CC license and may be used free of charge and in any way you see fit.

if possible, please name photographer "SEIER+SEIER". if not, don't.


more utzon here and here

  • Kai Ross 8y

    - too bad for the elsinore working classes that prices went up to high for them. they still got the marvelous LO-Skolen though... ;-))) Not a bad place either... (Wasn't it also Utzon who actually won the first price for LO-Skolen but for some reason in the end they deciced not to realize his design, right?! Nevertheless, I adore this place and the way in which it is preserved... !)
  • seier+seier PRO 8y

    yes, yes....and yes...

    even two architects' wages wont get you anywhere near 100 square meters in kingohusene and it is 50 kilometers from copenhagen... the crazy development in housing prices is keeping a whole generation from owning their own home and everybody is applauding...

    and utzon did win the LO-skolen. actually, he handed in two projects for the competition and won first and third prize. the second prize project was built.

    I am not entirely sure what happened but I believe it had to do with the LO-skolen running into severe political opposition because of the tower. utzon, being in sydney with plenty of opposition on his hands already, simply gave up and recommended the second prize winners to the client.
  • Kai Ross 8y

    aah... the latter is news to me. I couldn't guess it from the broschure they have in some of the rooms at LO-Skolen. My danish is simply to bad (or rather, non existant). And staff at LO-Skolen is usually to drunk to tell... NO! ... just kidding... ;-))

    BTW: Some members of staff at LO-Skolen were lucky enough to buy their houses in Elsinore years ago ... wow!! That's proletarian lifestyle the way I like it... ;-)
  • seier+seier PRO 8y

    yep, I think that you have to go to the roma community to find proletarian life style in elsinore nowadays. I don't recall anyone suffering at the LO-school ;)

    loved your photos of the john heartfield hütte, btw
  • noztu 7y

    What I most like from this photograph is that it is not a certain place. In fact, it could be any place in Kingohusene.
    But you capture the mood I found in my visits; the afternoon sun, the plants growing free, the clouds in the blue sky, that sensation of wellbeing in the air...

    Not being Danish, I always felt at home in there..................
  • seier+seier PRO 7y

    yeah, I never really wanted to own a house but I could definitely live there too...
  • peteshep PRO 4y

    Four more Kingo housing from 1968:
    017-KingoUtzon-041 PS © by peteshep

    (Good to see it has the same feel.)
    P :-)
  • seier+seier PRO 4y

    excellent, peter!

    the people who live there take such good care of the place and always have.
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