Page last updated at 22:29 GMT, Saturday, 29 November 2008

Sydney Opera House architect dies

Danish architect Jorn Utzon
Danish architect Jorn Utzon won international prizes for his work

The Danish architect of the iconic Sydney Opera House, Jorn Utzon, has died at the age of 90, after suffering a heart attack.

Mr Utzon, an award-winning architect, put "Denmark on the world map with his great talent," said Danish Culture Minister Carina Christensen.

Having won a competition in 1957 to design the building, he left the project before it opened in 1973.

Mr Utzon never visited the completed landmark, after disputes about costs.

He had quarrelled with the Australian client and the costs overran by 1,000%.

Even decades later he declined invitations to return to Australia, but did design, with his son, a new wing which opened in 2006.

In 1998 he told Associated Press news agency: "It's part of education - I can't be bitter about anything in life."

Mr Utzon never visited the completed Sydney Opera House

Most of the interior of the opera house was not completed according to his plans after government-appointed architects took over the job.

The Sydney Opera House planned to dim the lights on the sail-shaped roof on Sunday to mark Mr Utzon's death.

The chairman of Sydney Opera House Trust, Kim Williams, said: "Jorn Utzon was an architectural and creative genius who gave Australia and the world a great gift.

"Sydney Opera House is core to our national cultural identity and a source of great pride to all Australians. It has become the most globally recognised symbol of our country."

Mr Utzon also designed the National Assembly of Kuwait and several prominent buildings in Denmark.

Danish Minister of Culture Carina Christensen paid tribute to him, saying: "Jorn Utzon will be remembered as one of the Danes who in the 20th century put Denmark on the world map with his great talent."

Mr Utzon won several international awards, including the Alvar Aalto Medal for architecture and France's Legion of Honour.

In 2003 he won the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize for his design of the opera house.

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