by Staff Reporter
THE announcement that Danish architect Jorn Utzon, who designed the Sydney Opera House, had won the Pritzker Prize for Architecture, came just before his 85th birthday, which he celebrated earlier this week on Majorca, where he has lived since 1971.

Q. Congratulations on the prize. Has it arrived at a good moment?
A. I am extremely happy because it is a very important prize in the sense that I have great admiration for the people who have received it before me. They include Rafael Moneo, the architect who designed the Miró Foundation in Palma, who worked in my studio on the Sydney Opera House project. In this way, I see that the quality of our work is good enough to win this prize. As far as my age is concerned, it could be felt that it arrived too late, however, as is the case of some trees which give fruit in autumn, I am in the autumn of my life and am gathering my fruits.

Q. Your retirement in Majorca has given rise to a legend: it is said that you don't like people, that you are fleeing from the world. Is this true?
A. I like forming part of the world very much, but for me it is not necessary to be in a big meeting or give lectures. I have many friends in Majorca and live a normal life here in the winter. The contrast between the island and Denmark, where I spend the summers, is marvellous.

Q. Has living on a Mediterranean island influenced your work?
A. Yes, Denmark is mainly flat and has a cold and windy climate, so a house you build in Denmark is very different to the one you would build here. Here you have to protect people from the sun and not only that, there are many materials which we do not have. I have built houses with the same stone with which the Cathedral is built, marés, which I could never obtain in Denmark. The lifestyle is also very different and influences construction. Light, for example, is very important in architecture, and space.

Q. What are the qualities of good architecture?
A. Above all to create a suitable environment for people. Architects are always building for people, whether it be a family home, an office block. I also think that functionality and structure are very important, as in the Gothic period, where every stone was necessary and architecture was structural. Nowadays, in many cases, you cannot see the structure, which is hidden. This can be beautiful, but I like to see the structure and the materials.

Q. You have built two houses in Majorca, which are characterised by respecting the environment and blending into the landscape.
A. Yes, this respect comes from my training. The first thing you have to bear in mind is the place were you will build, you have to learn how the sun arrives and how it behaves in that spot. When you know the surroundings well, the ideas come automatically and help you make use of the good features and protect you from the bad ones. It is like animals, who seek out the places they consider most suitable to live in.

Q. It is said that you don't like skyscrapers. What do you think of the Libeskind project for Ground Zero in New York.
A. I don't know it in detail. I would build a house to meet in and forgive, for the day must come when we all forgive each other for all the wrongs we do. It would also have to be a place for women, there must be a place for them, because it is they who give life and cannot tolerate their father, brother or son killing another. It may seem very naive, but I would build a house for peace and forgiveness.


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