Regarding his affiliation with the attitudes of Alvar Aalto and Gunnar Asplund, Utzon explains:
“Asplund in Sweden and Aalto in Finland possess something beyond pure functionalism. They sometimes display what I would term a spiritual superstructure. It is called poetry. This superstructure makes every house reflect exactly the life in the house.”
When Utzon received the Nykredit Architectural Prize in 1987, he said: “In this context I especially want to mention three architects of our time, who have, each in his distinctive way, been a great inspirator. These are Frank Lloyd Wright, Gunnar Asplund, and Alvar Aalto. They managed to read the poetry of a landscape and insert their impressions in their structural designs, making these an integrated part of the site.”
“Both of them told me that the total context in architecture resembles a symphony. The complete experience is not achieved until the individual movements are heard in their context. A composer would never tolerate that an outsider changed the progress of the symphony. Architecture deserves an equally uncompromising attitude.”
Regarding this, Utzon later stated: “Architecture is frozen music.”
Utzon tells about his awe towards Asplund, who taught Aalto to plant a cherry tree at the end of the concrete stairway. Then it became wonderful to descend that stairway.
Later, Aalto utilised apple blossoms as examples of an acceptable kind of standardising.
Utzon further explains regarding the architecture of Asplund:
“Among the finest examples of Scandinavian architecture, one letting the spectator sense how much effort the architect has desired to make to let you feel well, is a building by Gunnar Asplund, the Forest Crematorium in Stockholm.
Utzon was so excited about Aaltos work, especially Villa Mariea, that he for seven weeks worked at Aalto’s studio.