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Utzon Center

Slotspladsen 4
9000 Aalborg


Phone: +45 76 90 50 00
CVR: 30 27 94 41

Call for entries

Do you have an artistic take on animation or motion graphics? Can you turn drawings of architecture into beautiful and meaningful digital imagery? This is your change to join the competition and help Utzon Center bring the Danish architect Jørn Utzon’s unbuilt masterpieces back to life.

Utzon UNBUILT seeks to understand the innermost being of Jørn Utzon’s architecture and to re-imagine some of his many unbuilt projects. So, we urge all entrants to go into dialogue with the fascinating world of Utzon and his approach to architecture, in order to help Utzon Center show the world a selection of Utzon’s unbuilt marvels. We wish for entrants to communicate in such a way that everyone – your parents, the stranger on the street, children, and also the architect – understands the world of architecture. It is about seeking the innermost being of architecture, and how we unveil the seeds of architecture.


“If we want further to enhance our grasp of architec­ture, we must understand that amidst all changes in circum­stances, the architectonic expression is created in an alliance with the social structure. The true innermost being of archi­tecture can be compared with that of nature’s seed, and some­thing of the inevitability of nature’s principle of growth ought to be a fundamental concept in architecture.” – Jørn Utzon in The Innermost Being of Architecture, 1948


About the competition

We wish for young creative talents to explore, interpret, and creatively visualise Jørn Utzon’s working drawings for some of his unbuilt works. Furthermore, the idea is for entrants to fully understand and make Jørn Utzon’s approach to architecture an integral part of their submission. This entails that each entrant should interpret a selected Utzon project by merging Utzon’s own vision for the project with one’s own creative mind.


Utzon UNBUILT is an annual competition which began in 2019 and has a duration of three years. Each time, the competition will be based on a new Utzon project. For the second year of Utzon UNBUILT, the project that has been selected for the competition is Jørn Utzon’s Jeita Grotto Theatre in Lebanon (1968).


The winning project will be awarded, published, and subsequently be used in various exhibitions, dissemination, and educational contexts. 


What it takes to participate 

The Utzon UNBUILT competition is open to anyone under the age of 40, whether a professional or a student in the field of architecture, design, animation, architectural technology and construction, engineering etc. Both individual and team entries are welcome, and multi-disciplinary teams are encouraged.


The winning project will be judged and selected by an international jury based on a set of judging criteria and submission requirements, which we highly encourage you to read thoroughly.


Register to have the opportunity to submit your project. Registration is nonbinding.


Jeita Grotto Theatre in Lebanon

Five kilometres up the mountains behind the cliffs at Nahr el Kelb, one can find the grottos at Jeita – allegedly said to be among the most beautiful in the world. In 1968, Jørn Utzon was given the opportunity to design a concert stage to be set up inside the belly of the cave. The idea was to create the illusion of a burning fire as people would approach the stage within the grotto, which would die away into complete darkness before the show would start. In the end, the grotto would be lit up to show its magnificent grandeur.


The project was discontinued in 1970; however, it continues to be one of Utzon’s most promising and highly ritualised unbuilt projects.


Read more about the Jeita Grotto Theatre or visit the Utzon Archives to see all of Utzon's original drawings for the Jeita Grotto Theatre in Lebanon (1968).