Jørn Utzon was born in 1918 and is certainly one of the most important of all 20th-century Danish architects and designers. He derived his earliest inspiration from foreign architects such as Alvar Aalto and Frank Lloyd Wright, whose organic conception of architecture was of great significance for Utzon's own expressive and sculptural nature-inspired architecture and product design. Utzon experienced his international breakthrough in 1957 when he rather surprisingly won the international competition to build an opera house in Sydney in Australia, a visionary building project with a roof consisting of 60-metre-high concrete shells opening out towards the harbour like billowing sails. For various reasons, Utzon resigned as architect to the project in 1966, but the Opera House, which is considered to be one of the most important 20th-century works of architecture, made Utzon rightly famous and resulted in his being given high profile commissions all around the world.
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