In 1955 Jørn Utzon completed the design of the Middelboe House in Holte, Denmark. The residence was built only a year before embarking on his career-defining commission for the Sydney Opera House, which occupied him until 1973.
Middelboe House Technical Information
- Architects: Jørn Utzon
- Location: Ved Furesøen, Holte, Denmark
- Topics: Single Family House, Wood Structure
- Project Year: 1953 – 1955
- Photographs: © SEIER+SEIER, © Christoffer Pilgaard
And with a few moments like that, with doubt from here and there, and within ourselves we were just striving for excellence. We had somehow understood and felt that all the musicians who would come to the House later on, that all the singers, the big artists, were striving for excellence in their life and we thought a house for them, there’s no limit to the excellence it should have because it should match their strive for perfection
– Jørn Utzon
Middelboe House Photographs
Text by the Architects
The Middelboe House, completed in 1953, straddles two properties, and the accommodation is raised one story to enjoy views over the Furesø lake. The house became known as `The Stilt House.`
The precast concrete structural system and color scheme was inspired by Chinese timber construction and designed so that the members could rest on each other, `fixed` only by gravity.
House near Furesø, Copenhagen
The situation of the house by a lake with low-lying evening fog and – on the other side – a channel with heavy traffic, has decided the form, with the rooms raised one floor over the ground so that only the hall, the wardrobe, the heating room are situated on the ground floor.
The golden larch boarding with its natural surface as well inside as outside gives a homogeneous background for all the subtle ever-changing shades in nature. The constructive elements are accentuated with intense colors: black and red, so that they, together with the very distinct construction of reinforced concrete, emphasize the relationship between the supporting and the supported elements. The covered area on the ground gives a place for parking of bicycles and cars, together with outdoor areas with fireplace, for ping-pong, woodcutting, etc.
The Middelboe House offers a powerful demonstration of Utzon`s rare ability to combine visually lucid and tectonically compelling forms with a concern for nature and the minutiae of daily life. The sketch of the shower- room was made to convince the client it would be large enough: they conceded, but the current owner enlarged it. The trabeated structure is rudimentary in principle yet strikingly original and refined in effect.
Middelboe House Plans
Middelboe House Image Gallery
About Jørn Utzon
Jørn Oberg Utzon (1918 –2008) was a Danish architect. He was most notable for designing the Sydney Opera House in Australia, completed in 1973. When it was declared a World Heritage Site on 28 June 2007, Utzon became only the second person to have received such recognition for one of his works during his lifetime, after Oscar Niemeyer. Other noteworthy works include Bagsværd Church near Copenhagen and the National Assembly Building in Kuwait. He also made significant contributions to housing design, especially with his Kingo Houses near Helsingør.
Utzon attended the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts (1937–42) and was influenced early on by Gunnar Asplund and Alvar Aalto.