Hiroshi Sambuichi Interview: On Jørn Utzon

Japanese architect Hiroshi Sambuichi is considered one of the foremost green architects of our time. In this short video, he poetically describes how spending three days at Danish architect Jørn Utzon’s masterly house on Mallorca, Can Lis, made an everlasting impression and “felt almost like getting a letter from him.”

If Utzon had lived in the 21st century, Sambuichi would have liked to talk with him about “nature, the moving materials and themes like that.” He is sure that Utzon as an architect was also influenced by nature, albeit being an architect in the 20th century his approach to nature was different from now.

The two architectural places that Sambuichi envies are Miyajima Itsukushima Shrine, which is part of his childhood, and Utzon’s Sydney Opera House: “If I were to choose two places, it would be this old and this modern one.” He also admires Utzon’s house on Mallorca, Can Lis, where he stayed for three nights: “When I stayed there, the moon was full. The feeling I experienced there and the moon over Miyajima are two of the most beautiful experiences I’ve had with architecture.” Moreover, his stay at Can Lis made him feel as if he understood Utzon’s way of thinking: “In this way, he’s conveying something beyond time. And I feel as if his architecture is like a letter for me.”

Hiroshi Sambuichi (三分一インタビュー ) (b.1968) is a Japanese architect, who is considered one of the top experimentalists of sustainable architecture, creating a symbiosis between nature and architecture. Built upon both personal intuition and scientific investigations, his architecture attains a rare balance between poetics and science. In 2001 Sambuichi established Sambuichi Architects. He is currently an Honorary Professor at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture. In 2017 he was awarded the Wallpaper* Design Award for Naoshima Hall.

Jørn Utzon (b.1918-d.2008) was a Danish Pritzker Prize-winning architect responsible for notable buildings such as the Sydney Opera House (1973) in Australia. When it was declared a World Heritage Site in 2007, Utzon became the second person to have received such recognition for a work during his lifetime. Other noteworthy buildings by Utzon include Bagsværd Church in Denmark (1976) and the National Assembly Building in Kuwait (1982).

Hiroshi Sambuichi was interviewed by Christian Lund at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark in August 2017. The interview is part of a collaboration with the Utzon Center in Aalborg, Denmark in
connection with Utzon’s 100th birthday in April 2018.

Translator: Alex Hummel Lee, project leader & partner, Sambuichi Architects
Camera: Rasmus Quistgaard
Edited by: Klaus Elmer
Produced by: Marc-Christoph Wagner
Cover photo: Jørn Utzon’s house Can Lis on Mallorca. Courtesy of Torben Eskerod/ Utzon Center/Utzon Archives
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2018

Supported by Dreyers Fond

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