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jørn utzon, architect's own house, hellebæk, 1950-1952 | by seier+seier
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jørn utzon, architect's own house, hellebæk, 1950-1952

architect's own house, hellebæk, 1950-1952.

architect: jørn utzon.


here she is, a small house, yet expansive; monumental in conception, humble in materials; built in the middle of a forest, but raised on a low platform as if standing back slightly from nature, viewing it rather than being part of it.


from the lecture notes of kay fisker, utzon's teacher at the royal academy, we know that he would quote voysey's 1906 book, "reason as the basis of art":


"the sense of order conveyed by breath of surfaces and reposeful arrangement does suggest qualities akin to faithfulness, simplicity and selfcontrol. we do not naturally value simplicity in ourselves. to have travelled much, to be versatile and cosmopolitan in our tastes and complex in our behavior, is to most people more attractive than simplicity of character and conduct which, to aquire in these days, needs strong will and independent thought."


I am reminded of utzon's house by these words - it could never have happened without the English freestyle in the first place. yet contrary to voysey's rant, utzon appears to have learnt simplicity from his travels. today, such a claim is as absurd as voysey made it sound in 1906 but following the horrors of the second world war and the european selfdestruction, the idea of travelling the world to find a natural way to live and a natural way to build must have made a lot of sense.


utzon himself wrote, "the simple, primitive life in the country, trips into the mountains with skis or guns, sailing trips, a few weeks together with Arabs in the mountains and the desert, a visit to north america and mexico, the lifestyle of the Indians - all this has formed the basis for the way of life my wife and I have wanted to lead, and thus for the design of the house".


the house was listed in 2005.


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more utzon here and here


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Taken on May 3, 2008