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utzon logbook


“Science teaches us that everything in existence – stone, star, frog or human being – is made of the same material, the same elementary particles. All that is different is the state of the organisation of these particles, their relationship to each other. All that is different is the number of the levels engraved in the pyramid of complexity.” Hubert Reeves: L’espace prend la forme de mon regard

Mogens Prip-Buus / Additive Architecture / Edition Bløndal 2009

04 Aage and Jørn Utzon going hunting / Ole Schultz 05 Underside of the right wing of a sparrow hawk / Ole Schultz 06 The Innermost Being of Architecture / Jørn Utzon 08 Introduction to Additive Architecture / Mogens Prip-Buus 028 Additive Architecture / Jørn Utzon 034 Projects introducing Additive Architecture / Mogens Prip-Buus and Jørn Utzon 036 Farum Centre / Jørn Utzon 052 Silkeborg II / Mogens Prip-Buus and Jørn Utzon 054 Jeddah Stadium / Jørn Utzon 100 A College Campus in Herning / Jørn Utzon 132 Espansiva / Jørn Utzon 180 Kuwait National Assembly / Mogens Prip-Buus and Jørn Utzon 184 Introduction to Furniture Systems / Mogens Prip-Buus 196 New Angle / Mogens Prip-Buus, Jørn Utzon and Peter Lassen 212 Utsep / Mogens Prip-Buus and Jørn Utzon 226 Additive Unfolding / Jørn Utzon 230 Additive Explorer / Torsten Bløndal 312 Credits




Aage and Jørn Utzon going hunting

hunt dinners. She remembered Jørn Utzon as a tall, slender young man – a little lanky

As a boy, Jørn Utzon often accompanied

and with big hands. This could clearly be

his father, the marine engineer Aage

seen from a photograph on the wall in the

Utzon, on hunting expeditions to the un-

library showing Jørn Utzon and his father

touched open area known as Vejlerne near

standing in front of a small lorry bearing a

the Limfjord. In contrast to today, there

sign saying Aalborg Shipyard. Mrs Serrit-

was no closed season for hunting, which

slev told us that Jørn Utzon’s hunt lunches

went on throughout the year. They even

consisted of large helpings of oats with

hunted “spring snipe” – woodcock and

milk and sugar.

snipe on their way north to the breeding

There was a small sketch by Jørn Utzon

grounds. This hunt took the form of a beat,

hanging in the library – drawn on the back

during which the hunters went through the

of an oatmeal packet. The sketch showed

area and forced the game up in front of

part of the Vejlernes landscape with ditch-

them. It was a physically demanding kind

es and fencing posts – drawn in perspec-

of hunt in which the hunters had to

tive and with a small calculation at the

traverse great distances in the extensive

bottom indicating that 40 fencing posts

wet and quite flat landscape.

corresponded to 200 metres. It quite obvi-

The hunters stayed at the bigger farms in

ously caught Jørn Utzon’s interest that it

the area so it was easier to catch the morn-

was easier to judge distances and find

ing and evening movements and at the

your bearings by allowing your eyes to

same time enjoy a little conviviality with

wander along these lines in the landscape.

the other hunters. Aage and Jørn Utzon

There were also large drifting clouds in the

often went to a farm called Ellitsbølgård

sketch – with a clear dynamic direction de-

near the Limfjord. Some years ago, Mrs

termined by the west wind. The sketch and

Serritslev from Ellitsbølgård told how, as

the photograph are presumably in a store

the daughter in the house, she would give

under the rest home where Mrs Serritslev

a hand when there were hunt lunches and

now lives.

Ole Schultz / 2008

“Sketch” by Jørn Utzon, 1934, from his visit at Ellitsbølgård, here repeated from memory by Ole Schultz, was inscribed “four feathers missing here”, indicating Utzon’s analytical intellect.

Underside of the right wing

airtight combination – and thus maximum

directional and additive systems, the

of a sparrow hawk

carrying capacity. During flight, the spar-

feather tracts are subordinated to the

row hawk’s weight presses the secondar-

main form and function.

The wings of a sparrow hawk are covered

ies up in a gentle curve, which ensures the

The sparrow hawk and nature can teach us

with 2 systems of feathers, respectively 6

wing’s aerodynamic qualities.

that when a form or construction is unable

rows of specifically formed secondaries

The secondaries have the same size, shape

to solve all problems or functions – it is

and primaries with powerful barbs – and

and structure as the bird’s breast contour

supplemented with a new modified system

13-14 rows of secondaries closest to the

feathers. The feather tracts are arranged

which harmonises with the first. On a tree,


loosely to provide flexible cover in both

the stem, branches, twigs and leaf stalks

The secondaries and primaries are ar-

the secondaries and breast feathers.

are another brilliant system. With its

ranged in scaly structures that can be var-

The sparrow hawk’s tail feathers are the

cracks and splits, the bark can absorb

ied and form various patterns – from the

bird’s biggest and strongest feathers with

bends and formal variations in another

extended wing to the wing tightly packed

thick barbs on the right and left. The tail

kind of additive system.

against the bird’s back.

feathers must primarily be stiff and form

There are obvious features in common be-

The secondaries are smaller and are ar-

a plate that can be manoeuvred for hover-

tween the bird’s wing and the rib construc-

ranged in a very finely meshed system and

ing, and which at the same time form a

tion of the Sydney Opera House, the exter-

have very soft barbs providing great flexi-

kind of rudder regulating height and

nal ceramic tiles and the never completed

bility. The secondaries together with a cor-


internal plywood ceilings, and for that

responding system of contour feathers on

The entire bird is an elegant directional

matter also the variations in the Espansiva

the upper side of the wing provide a highly

form and construction in which, in clearly

system. Ole Schultz / 2008


The Innermost Being of Architecture We put everything in relation to ourselves.

itself the ability to develop without com-

understanding of life. An understanding of

Our surroundings influence us through

promise. On account of differing condi-

walking, standing, sitting and lying com-

their relative size, light, shade, colour etc.

tions, similar seeds turn into widely differ-

fortably, of enjoying the sun, the shade,

Our condition depends entirely on

ing organisms.

the water on our bodies, the earth and all

whether we are in a city or out in the coun-

Our surroundings, the time in which we

the less easily defined sense impressions.

tryside, on whether the space in which we

live, are quite different from what they

A desire for well-being must be fundamen-

find ourselves is large or small.

ever were before, but the innermost being

tal to all architecture if we are to achieve

Our reactions to these circumstances are

of architecture, the seed, is the same. The

harmony between the spaces we create

at first quite unconscious, and we only reg-

study of already existing architecture must

and the activities to be undertaken in

ister them on memorable occasions, for

consist in letting ourselves be spontane-

them. This is quite simple and reasonable.

instance in the sublime enjoyment of a

ously influenced by it and appreciating the

It requires an ability to create harmony

detail or a happy alliance with the sur-

ways in which solutions and details were

from all the demands made by the under-

roundings or by a pronounced feeling of

dependent on the time at which they were

taking, an ability to persuade them to


created. For the architect to work in sover-

grow together to form a new whole – as in

But to elicit our unconscious reactions

eign control of his means, he must experi-

nature; nature knows of no compromise, it

until they become conscious to us ought

ment, practise in the manner of a musician

accepts all difficulties, not as difficulties

to be our starting point. By rehearsing our

playing his scales, practise with mass, with

but merely as new factors which with no

ability to grasp these differences and their

rhythms formed by masses grouped

sign of conflict evolve into a whole.

effect on us, by being in contact with our

together by colour combinations, light and

To understand all the inspiration present in

surroundings, we find our way in to archi-

shade etc.; he must sense with fervent

every one of Man’s countless means of

tecture’s innermost being.

intensity and generally rehearse his shape-

expression, to work on the basis of our

If we want further to enhance our grasp of

creating expertise.

hands, eyes, feet, stomachs, on the basis of

architecture, we must understand that

This requires close familiarity with materi-

our move­ments and not of statistical norms

amidst all changes in circumstances, the

als: we have to be able to understand the

and rules created on the principle of what

architectonic expression is created in an

structure of wood, the weight and the

is most usual – this is the way forward to an

alliance with the social structure. The true

hardness of stone, the character of glass;

architecture that is both varied and human.

innermost being of architecture can be

we must become one with our materials

It is necessary to be in tune with the age

compared with that of nature’s seed, and

and be able to fashion and use them in

and with the surroundings, to see inspira-

something of the inevitability of nature’s

accordance with their constitution.

tion in the task itself, if the requirements of

principle of growth ought to be a funda-

If we understand the nature of the mate-

that task are to be translated into an archi-

mental concept in architecture.

rial, we have its potential close at hand and

tectonic language creating a unity of all

If we think of the seeds that turn into

far more tangibly than if we base ourselves

the different factors.

plants or trees, everything within the same

on mathematical formulae and art forms.

At the same time the architect must have

genus would develop in the same way if

To the architect, mathematics help him

an ability to imagine and to create, an abil-

the growth potentials were not so differ-

confirm that what he assumed was right.

ity that is sometimes called fantasy, some-

ent and if each growth possessed within

It demands a good healthy commonsense

times dreams.  Jørn Utzon / 1948

Facing page: “From my father, the botanist Einer

structure, which makes it a plant, is the edifice. Out

Korsmo, who strived to protect cultivated plants

in the field it stands among friends and enemies, a

against the weeds, I had my first lesson in architec-

very precarious relationship. But look above all at

ture – or in objects and objects in space. Holding up

the root. Thus, the understanding of material and

a plant and describing its properties to his little son,

structure in nature’s workshop and the sense of

he would say: ‘This is the plant, from root to tip. It

relations became the basis for seeing a whole’.”

has a latin name which decribes its properties. You

Arne Korsmo – Jørn Utzon’s lifetime companion – in: The

shall see what it looks like under a microscope. Its

Functionalist, Arne Korsmo, Christian Norberg-Schulz, 1985.


Introduction to Additive Architecture Several people have asked me over the

structure, that conflicted with our manner

expression beneath all changing condi­

years what actually happened that day in

of working.

tions arises in a pact with the social struc­

Sydney when the expression “Additive

This system is hinted at by Alexander

ture. –” And his own words in “The Court-

Architecture” was invented. What were we

Kouzmin in “Building the New Parliament

yard Houses” Utzon Logbook Vol. I, where

working with, what were we talking about

House: An Opera House Revisited?”:

he says:

and how did we come to think of the

Page 126: “Utzon’s radical revision of tradi­


tional roles and responsibilities, and his

“The architect is the only person in the

It was a day like any other. We had no fixed

linking of the design and construction

building process who by virtue of his con­

routine determining what was to be done

functions as an organic and indivisible

tact with everyone and his thorough

at such and such a time, and there was

process entailing the closest collaboration

knowledge of people’s overall wellbeing is

always plenty to be done. I don’t remem-

between architect, consultants and con­

able to discover and create an environ­

ber the date – it was some time in 1965. All

tractors, proved to be irreconcilable with

ment capable of pleasing his fellow human

I recall is that Jørn and I were sitting in my

administrative strategies of functional and


little office on the Opera site, that the sun

divided responsibility.”

was shining, and that during the conversa-

Page 131: “Up to the last, the Minister of

Of course we did not discuss the historical

tion and the sketching relating to some

Public Works was insisting on calling ten­

backgrounds in depth; the word ADDITIVE

problem perhaps concerning the Opera

ders on the basis of completed working

said enough to us, and the work pro-

House, perhaps concerning a different

drawings. Nothing could point up more

gressed, though with a more profound

project, I happened to say something that

closely the failure of conservative bureau­


Jørn asked me to repeat. He then got up

cracy to understand Utzon’s radical logic.”

But this was really only a clarification. The

and with his 6B pencil wrote the words

Whether this structure was especially Brit-

idea behind the word had existed for years


ish was not discussed in detail, even

and had always made its mark on Jørn’s

and said that now we had broken through

though we were talking of the Empire. This


the sound barrier.

construction based on a dominant overall

On his return from his visit to China, 1958,

Why did we suddenly feel that we had

unit, which had to be divided up in order

Jørn told the drawing office about the Chi-

made a breakthrough?

to discover and allow for the existence of

nese, who at that time had no overcoats,

For years, we had been working with and

individual elements – such as human

but put on several layers of the same attire

developing ideas on element construction,

beings, for instance – was completely con-

one over the other when it was cold, and

prefabrication, geometrical systems etc.

trary to our manner of working, and with-

then took some off when it grew warmer.

They had been tested, many of them had

out going into detail, we discussed the his-

This was one of the many examples that

been built, and although we knew that

torical evolution of Danish society such as:

over the years created the way in which

there was a great deal still to be studied,

Individual people form the family – the

the drawing office thought.

we did not feel inhibited in these areas.

farm. The farms form the village – with a

But did we realise at that time that the

So why this sudden enthusiasm for the

village moot.

principle stating that what could be added

word ADDITIVE? We had no need of a new

The villages form the shire – with a shire

could also be removed again could also be

theory; we didn’t work on the basis of or

moot determining the rules for Viking

applied to architecture?

around theories, we merely tried to under-

expeditions: so and so many men per boat

For instance, the single-family house

stand a situation with all its elements and

and then so and so many boats per region.

entails a problem that turns up regularly in

potentials and then to go on to find the

The shires form the region – with a

discussions and competitions. Quite sim-

solution that expressed it.

regional assembly.

ply that the house is the framework around

BUT we were inhibited. The way in which

The regions form the realm – with a

a family, which usually starts with two per-

we worked encountered obstacles. We

national assembly.

sons. Children come and later move out

had come a long way since 1958 when the

An additive principle starting with the indi-

again. Couples can split up, or other mem-

programme was entered in “the red book”.

vidual person and quite different from the

bers of the family can move in. In the long

We knew now that it was possible for our

pyramidal structure referred to above.

run changes take place in life in the house,

ideas to be built, but even so, there were

A principle that is fundamental to Jørn

but rarely in the house itself, and this is

considerable obstacles in the way.

Utzon’s work – see The Innermost Being of

quite unnatural and a waste of space and

There was a system, a pyramidal social

Architecture (p. 06): “the architectonic


When we discussed the combination of various elements, Jørn told us about Gunnar Asplund’s lecture in Stockholm 1936, at which Asplund showed three slides: First one with a row of impeccably uniformed soldiers in ranks, as stiff as stone columns. Then one with a line of dancing chorus girls parading their thighs, with feathers and everything, or rather without everything. And finally one from a bar where each of the chorus girls is sitting on the lap of one of the soldiers enveloped in a cloud of smoke and wavingglasses.

When Utzon quoted Asplund he often mentioned the series of slides being reproduced here. Nevertheless you may notice that The Tiller Girls were not dancing but seated. The slides were printed in Byggmästeren, 1936 on the occasion of E.G. Asp­ lund’s lecture “Konst och teknik” 19 May 1936 at The Swedish Association of Architects. The slide of The Tiller Girls had already been reproduced in “Kritsik Revy” 1926 by Poul Henningsen, originally first published in “Baukunst”.


This thought was latent in The Crema­torium Project as early as 1945: “Three chapels placed on top of a small hill with secondary functions as connecting links. Walls built of bricks, one brick for every deceased, thus the walls grow slowly as time goes by.” Jørn Utzon, zodiac 5 The design was never finished nor submitted. It never arrived at a finished design for the project, let alone at the point when it could be submitted. All that exists today is three photos of models and a plan and section in the form of sketches. In all its simplicity, this long-overlooked project deserves a conspicuous place among Utzon’s works and as early as 1945 introduces the idea of additive architecture, with time as a fourth dimension added to the three spatial dimensions. When we look at the photos of the models, which show a given point in time, it is easy to remove some walls and thus imagine an earlier stage in the building process, just as adding more can show a later picture of the growing complex. The crematorium project was not mentioned by S. Giedion when he wrote the new chapter “Jørn Utzon and the Third Generation” in his major work. However, it can be imagined that this very project is a perfect illustration of Space, Time and Architecture.


the positioning of windows at all heights within the 20 cm module, at any place among the façade sides of the columns. It is for instance possible to have a highly positioned, narrow window in the bathroom and ancillary rooms. One can have narrow windows from the level of the working surface in the kitchen to the lower edge of the upper cupboard, kitchen windows from high or low working surfaces, windows from very low levels in sitting rooms and window or door sections to floor level in living rooms and corridors. The system is shown as the normal ranch style bungalow with saddle roof, consisting of two sets of pavilions, back to back, or as a detached bungalow with a small and a large pavilion, back to back, or as a bungalow with various kinds of pavilions on either side of a central axis. It is also shown as an L-shaped house as a Ushaped bungalow and as an atrium house. Furthermore, it is shown as a bungalow constructed in a zigzag, with the corridor as the backbone holding it together and with the various functions in the house separated off. This wealth of ground plans is possible thanks to integrated structures centred on the 12-cm-thick external wall or partition wall element that continues up over the roof as a projection by way of a fireproof gable. This avoids internal guttering. This additive principle also provides the house with its logical character. With the Espansiva Byg system, we can now achieve the objective we have set our­ selves: not only to give the individual client complete freedom in designing his house, complete freedom to extend or rebuild at any time, but also to give the builder the possibility of achieving a unified appearance in larger common developments such as we know from our old, organically cohesive half-timbered villages, at the same time as allowing each separate family to have its entirely individual house, whether large or small. Here, there is none of that stiff, military repetition typical of many standard house types or unplanned appearance such as we encounter in modern residential districts.  Jørn Utzon / 1970

Pages 137–145: In the black frieze, the first four panels show the four building units forming the basis of the system. Then come various combination possibilities from a simple wing to the most complicated plans for single-family houses. Beneath the frieze are drawn some of the combinations shown in the frieze.


Individually designed single-family houses in a

Models showing a building unit under construction

group which, despite considerable variations in

and enclosed with various faรงade elements.

layout and external walls, will form a unity by

When an extension is required, all that is necessary

virtue of the related shapes of the components,

is to remove the bolted wall elements and add

which are found in all the houses.

a new unit.


Utsep, 1968 Life in and use of the various reception rooms in the Opera House required and provided the opportunity for a great variety of furniture arrangements. These were not to be fixed once and for all, but supply the potential for flexibility according to the nature of the activities. The construction of the building on the basis of geometrically determined elements was naturally to be continued in this area. Like the rest of the interiors, the construction was originally intended to be made in plywood. It was these studies that later developed into the Utsep System. An important source of inspiration was Utzon’s enthusiasm for a natural cave in the cliffs along the shore at Palm Beach near his home and often used as a place for drawing office picnics. In parenthesis it can be added that the surrounding rocks with their potholes and cracks, which were filled and emptied by the waves, were a great help to the studies for other projects such as Silkeborg and Wolfburg for instance.


Utsep Furniture This system of furniture arose from the study of people’s natural urge to form groups and to sit together in either large or small gatherings. The whole of our social life is based on this desire to converse and act together with other people. The square, 90-degrees arrangement of furniture in sitting rooms, common rooms, foyers and waiting rooms does not encourage intimate conversation. The table around which meetings are held has, after being rectangular, become round. Everyone can see everyone else; everyone is of the same importance, and all have thus the same possibility of making their contribution. The round table has become the symbol of equality in contrast to the rectangular table with the dominant figure at the end, symbolising an authoritarian system. The rounded quality of the Utsep furniture gives the group settling down the same feeling of friendly solidarity as the round table gives to participants in meetings. Practically speaking any curve has become possible on account of the ability of the angular elements to combine with rectangular elements. It is possible to construct small seating units with a circular plan that closes completely so that the furniture almost forms a room on its own, or it is possible to build meandering furniture combinations with seats back to back. Even when not being used or when only seating individuals, these fluid furniture shapes stand as fine sculptures on a floor, whereas there is something empty and uninspiring about the rows of benches arranged with military precision, such as are known from waiting rooms, airports and stations. In the Tuileries in Paris, the furniture in the park does not consist of benches, but of iron chairs. It is a very inspiring sight to see how groups of young people move the chairs closer together in circles or groups, so that the solidarity of the group is really reinforced by the position of the individual in relation to the others. In our present constructive, rectangular architecture marking divisions into distinct


areas, this furniture with its living shapes comes as a fine contrast to a clearly cubist-constructed room. When working with rooms and structures in which large numbers of people congregate or pass through, it is a help in the task of finding the right architectonic solution to imagine people independent of their surroundings, disconnected from walls, floor and furniture, and to observe them in the same way as when you observe large flocks of birds. If we look at the suddenly changed character of a flock of birds when, after flying about freely, they land and perch in straight rows on the telephone wires, we understand how strongly the architect links people’s freedom of movement and their natural desire to move about with his corridors and stairs, his arrangements of furniture and tables, and his rows of benches.  Jørn Utzon / 1970




Additive Explorer “The most important thing for an architect is the ability to imagine,” was one of Jørn Utzon’s constant refrains. This is perhaps also part of the explanation of his unusual manner of filing things away. Utzon did not keep drawings, photographs and sketches in archives, but saved mostly all from memory and imagination. If a craftsman or builder, for instance, was in doubt, Utzon immediately offered his help and drew whatever was desired. And he never failed to point out to newly appointed members of staff the most important tool in the drawing office, the waste paper basket. So immediately after the additive principle had been summed up, the hunt for pictures started, including pictures in Utzon’s own books, where sketches even by himself now and then became an integral part of the illustration and dog-ears indicated that here there was something to look at there. Or they might be provided with a comment on how a decent entrance looks for possible later use, to be stored for the time being in the architect’s head. From my conversations with many of Utzon’s friends and acquaintances, my thoughts went for instance of Svend Middelbo, who, sheltered by an MG, was stuck together with Jørn Utzon in the slipstream of a convoy of lorries on the way to Stockholm at the beginning of the 1950s. And I thought of him rambling by the Oslo Fjord with the friend of his youth Arne Korsmo, as the worried father watching his crazy son Jan in the middle of a Nordic summer night racing through the archipelago near Styrsö on water skis pulled by a fast speedboat with Geir Grung at the rudder. This was the same Geir Grung with whom Jørn Utzon travelled down the Yangzte Kiang to Hong Kong, where they each went their own way, Geir going on to Kyoto and Jørn to Sydney in 1958. Some of these experiences and landscapes form part of the framework around the additive elements in this suite of pictures. Torsten Bløndal / November 2008





Two storey apartment, windows floor to ceiling + ventilation device.




Jørn Utzon Logbook Vol. V:Additive Architecture