Utzon Museum in Aalborg from waterfront

© Rasmus Hjortshøj – COAST

The Utzon Center in Aalborg, Denmark, was the last building to be designed by Jørn Utzon. In collaboration with his son Kim who provided the final construction drawings, he planned the center not as a museum but as a place where students of architecture could meet and discuss their ideas for the future.

Utzon Center Technical Information

I like to be on the edge of the possible.

– Jørn Utzon

Utzon Museum Photographs
Utzon Center in Aalborg / Jørn Utzon

Aerial View | © utzoncenter.dk

Utzon Center in Aalborg / Jørn Utzon

Utzon Center from waterfront | © utzoncenter.dk

Utzon Center in Aalborg / Jørn Utzon

© Rasmus Hjortshøj – COAST

Utzon Center in Aalborg / Jørn Utzon

© Rasmus Hjortshøj – COAST

Utzon Center in Aalborg / Jørn Utzon

© oogstgroningen.nl

Utzon Center in Aalborg / Jørn Utzon

© oogstgroningen.nl

Utzon Center in Aalborg / Jørn Utzon

© oogstgroningen.nl

Utzon Center in Aalborg / Jørn Utzon

© oogstgroningen.nl

Utzon Center in Aalborg / Jørn Utzon

© oogstgroningen.nl

The Utzon Center was inaugurated in 2008, and it stands as the first of several cultural initiatives on Aalborg’s new waterfront.

The Utzon Center functions as a venue for diffusion and innovation, where art, architecture, and design interact with exhibition, education, conferences, and culinary experiences – an apt tribute to the Danish architect Jørn Utzon (1918-2008). The building complex is generated out of individual buildings organized around a courtyard.

Jørn Utzon’s main inspiration for the design was Aalborg’s industry and shipyards. With its highly reflective, dramatically curved rooftops, the center cannot be missed. These roofs are emphasized by the buildings in between the exhibition- and workshop spaces, where the roofs are lower and yet characteristic. The rather tent-like spaces they enclose are reminiscent of Utzon’s times in the Middle East and the Mediterranean.

Most of the rooms are impressively well lit, offering views out over the Lim Fjord. To protect visitors from the wind, Utzon has provided sheltered courtyards inside the complex, which also contribute to the pleasure of eating in the outdoor area of the restaurant. The building has an open and welcoming look but, at the same time, has the protective feel of Utzon’s houses on Mallorca and of Kim Utzon’s other projects, some of which have an almost fortress-like appearance.

In that way, the building complex responds to the varied nature of the site, from the windy and vast harbor front to the more intimate and blooming park next to the city center of Aalborg.

Utzon Center Plans
Utzon Center in Aalborg / Jørn Utzon

Floor Plan | © Jørn Utzon

Utzon Center in Aalborg / Jørn Utzon

Roof Floor Plan | © Jørn Utzon

Utzon Center in Aalborg / Jørn Utzon

Sections | © Jørn Utzon

Utzon Center Image Gallery
About Jørn Utzon

Danish architect Jørn Utzon was born in 1918. An admirer of the ideas of Gunnar Asplund, as well as Frank Lloyd Wright while still in school, Utzon acknowledges that Aalto, Asplund, and Wright were all significant influences in his work. Most of Utzon’s projects have been completed in his native Denmark, but he is best known for the Sydney Opera House, an iconic building of curving roof forms. Construction began in 1959 and was not complete until 1973, and Utzon left the project in 1966 after bitter arguments with Australian officials regarding cost and schedule issues.
Other works from Jørn Utzon 

Cite this article: "Utzon Center in Aalborg / Jørn Utzon" in ArchEyes, April 15, 2016, https://archeyes.com/utzon-center-aalborg-jorn-utzon/.