China in Denmark: The Transmission of Chinese Art and Architecture from the View of Jørn Utzon's Danish Socio-Cultural Background

Chiu Chen-Yu, Philip Goad, Peter Myers


Danish architect Jørn Utzons lifetime obsession with Chinese art and architecture is well known. However, why Utzon was interested in China and how he perceived Chinese art and architecture were not clearly explained in the previous studies. To answer the above questions with a better understanding of Utzon and his Danish socio-cultural background, the authors examines the experiences of the young Utzon and his connection with varied ideas and artefacts associated with China. The authors argue that the path leading to Utzons reception of Chinese art and architecture can be traced back to the intermittent three-hundred-year connection between China and Denmark generally, and the legacy of the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in particular. Together, these represent an amalgamation that assimilated diverse aspects of China taken by different people before and during Utzons early career. This further provided Utzon with the impetus to construct his own understanding of Chinese art and architecture with his pivotal study trip to China in 1958. Thus, China could serve as both Utzons aesthetic inspiration and confirmation for his architectural works.

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