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    Jan Utzon A Compassionate Architect Who Cares About the Truth Print E-mail
    Written by Graham Pardun   
    Tuesday, 23 February 2010 00:00

    I feel that if a large enough group of people are dissatisfied with the explanation they are given concerning a dramatic event in their society, it is in everyone's interest to have that event investigated to the extent that the subsequent explanation satisfies most people, including professionals at all levels. – Jan Utzon

    At the time of this writing, 1,034 architects and engineers have signed our petition demanding a real investigation of 9/11 – which is a bigger population, by the way, than that of many towns. In such a large crowd, there is a huge diversity of personalities and perspectives, all of them valuable; all of them seeking truth, and one that stands out is the Danish architect, Jan Utzon – son of the late architect, Jørn Utzon, whose most famous work is the Sydney Opera House.

    I recently had the privilege of interviewing Jan Utzon, current architect of the ongoing renovations at the Sydney Opera house. I was struck by his sense of fairness and humanity, both in his architectural vision, and in his reasons for signing our petition.

    One charge we often hear in the mainstream media against those who voice doubts about the official story is that they are "insulting" the victims' family members. This charge is absurd and totally inapplicable to anyone who simply wants legitimate answers about 9/11, and it is especially inapplicable to a man like Jan Utzon. I asked Utzon, for example, whether he and his father had discussed the manner in which the World Trade Center buildings had fallen, hoping to get some intriguing angle on the collapses from the brilliant architectural minds of the elder Utzon and his son. Utzon responded, simply, that he and his father had "felt deeply moved by the thought of the many lives lost and felt compassion for the many people who were affected." I was humbled. That's what this is all about: Honoring those who died in the attacks of 9/11, and caring for the many of us who survived, but have been, and continue to be, deeply affected by the events of that morning. Utzon feels that the way to do this is to bring the truth to light. And for this he has paid a price. The Sydney Morning Harold, who normally expresses admiration for Mr. Utzon, wrote a stinging piece about him after discovering thisremarkable interview recorded at the Sydney Opera house by Richard Gage, AIA, in which he expresses his support for AE911Truth.

    Simply pretending that the official story makes sense does nothing to honor those who died, or assuage the fears of their surviving family members and friends. Thus, in Utzon's words, "Presented with the many arguments for doubting the official explanations, I thought it only reasonable to request some sort of clarification on what had happened … if so many people have reason to doubt the official story, everyone would rest easier if an investigation shows that the official story is indeed the correct one." The best case scenario, in Utzon's mind, is that the official story turns out to be true after all – that would be the easiest and most palpable thing for us all to believe – that's what most of us started out believing. But we don't have the luxury of being able to invent our own truth for the sake of psychological convenience. There are serious holes and contradictions in the official story, and while these persist, no honest person can rest easy. There has to be a full, independent investigation – then and only then can we put this thing to rest.

    Curious about his philosophy as an architect, I asked Utzon what his sources of inspiration were. Of course, he mentioned the works and personality of his father – but he also mentioned "old structures like the Mayan compounds," as well as traditional Chinese and Japanese architecture, and other kinds of architecture that embody a "humanistic approach to the manmade landscape." The most important architectural works, for Utzon, are those that express "man's feeling for a place," and take into account "the people who use the buildings, and whose lives are affected by the structure." His goal as an architect is to use the inspiration of nature to create "humble and anonymous" buildings that "blend into the existing fabric of a city and enhance the lives of their occupants."

    One can't help but see echoes of his architectural philosophy in his motivation for signing the petition. The goal is for everyone to "rest easier" – but without compromising the truth. His is what I would call a humanistic approach to the manmade political landscape. Signing the petition (which he no doubt meant to be "humble and anonymous" – and so I'm grateful for the opportunity to have interviewed him) isn't about pure intellectual curiosity as an architect, or about creating political friction. Rather, it's about helping restore our sense of place and stability in a post-9/11 world.