Danish architect working on $70 million project

The design for the $70 million renovation of the Sydney Opera House is being drawn up in Majorca by the Danish architect behind the original opera house, Joern Utzon. Utzon will continue his work over the winter in Majorca and is being visited regularly by consultants on the mamouth project from Sydney. The inspiration behind the Danish master architect's renovation of the building is a brilliant violet sunset over Sydney's Narrabeen beach. Mr Utzon, 84, has a copy of a painting of Narrabeen beach at twilight and wants to use the sky's bright violet colour and the sandy beach hues as part of a redesign to the house's Opera Theatre gloomy interior. Videos show Mr Utzon brandishing the picture when talking with enthusiasm about the colour scheme. Long-term plans could also see a box office installed in the Bennelong restaurant and a covered colonnade inspired by a Mexican temple built along the western side of the building. Sydney architect Richard Johnson, of architectural firm Johnson, Pilton and Walker, told an architecture forum in Sydney this week of major progress in the Opera House renovation project. Mr Johnson revealed he had visited Mr Utzon four times, at either his summer home in Denmark or winter home in Majorca. Mr Utzon designed the Opera House but left Australia in 1966, never to return, after clashing with then public works minister Davis Hughes. Mr Johnson has revealed that Mr Utzon is now working exclusively on venue improvements at the Opera House and his enthusiasm for the scheme was growing. “He does seem to be getting younger with each visit and more connected and more alert and more interested,” Mr Johnson said. Four years ago, Utzon was presented with the keys to Sydney, an olive branch, by the then Mayor who travelled especially to the Port of Petra where the Dane has an award-winning house for the presentation. Since then Utzon has agreed to forgive Australia for the way he was treated and head the renovation of the Opera House.

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