News / Architecture & Design

Jørn Oberg Utzon – Pure by nature

If people were asked to name the most famous buildings of the world, like the pyramids of Giza, the St. Peter’s Basilica, or the Eiffel-Tower, the most exceptional Opera of Sydney certainly would be among them. The inspiration to create the famous Australian landmark came to its architect while examining the zests of an orange. Maybe the idea had been born in Majorca, where the orange and all its products are omnipresent? Who knows?

Jørn Utzon was born in 1918 in Copenhagen and passed away near the Danish capital in 2008, after a long and productive life as the creator of unique buildings, among these the parliament of Kuwait or the Bagsværd Church in Copenhagen. 2003 he received the Pritzker Award for his lifetime achievements. On the "island of light", Majorca, he spent his retirement, of course in a house designed by himself in 1971, the “Can Lis” near Portopetro at the east coast. Thus the amateurs of fine architecture do not only find rustic fincas and historical palaces in Majorca, but also statements of modern avant-garde.

Jørn Oberg Utzon built four blocks of yellow-red sandstone on a cliff, following the given conditions of the steep coast. All have sea views, differing slightly in their angles of view. Loggias and porches offer cool shades, interior the sunlight is caught most effectively. Can Lis is a modern house in form and function and harmonizes the elements stone, sea and light in an extraordinary way.

However, the climatic conditions at the new place “Can Feliz”, situated in the mountains and protected from humid breezes, proved more beneficial to Utzon and his wife, at least during the winter season. Although constructed with the same materials and similar in straightness and no-frill, the new domicile differs from the Portopetro house. Can Feliz, finished in 1994, consists of one building beneath one roof with a patio in its centre. It fits harmonically into the scenery, so that it requires a second glance to spot the peaceful hideaway.

The architect gave the seaside house, Can Lis, to his children. Meanwhile his daughter, Lin Utzon, followed her late father’s example and moved to Can Feliz. Can Lis in Portopetro has been converted into a study centre and meeting place for architects.

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