“Layering and changeability: this is the key, the combination that is worked into most of my buildings. Occupying one of these buildings is like sailing a yacht; you modify and manipulate its form and skin according to seasonal conditions and natural elements, and work with these to maximize the performance of the building.” - Glenn Murcutt, 1996
Today, on the 77th birthday of Australian architect Glenn Murcutt, we would like to take a moment to acknowledge the lasting impact Murcutt’s career has left on the profession of architecture. Since establishing his practice in 1979, Murcutt has steadily developed a series of small, yet exemplary projects that have become the touchstone of sustainable architecture.
A selection of his work, after the break...
Throughout his career, Murcutt has developed a profound philosophy based on the traditional Aboriginal ethic of “touching the earth lightly.” With this, Murcutt has created a portfolio that depicts a harmonious blend of modernist sensibility, local craftsmanship, indigenous structures, and respect for nature. This has lead him to be “living legend”, as Ada Louis Huxtable once described, whose body of work has granted him the 2002 Pritzker Architecture Prize, the 1993 Alvar Aalto Medal and 2009 AIA Gold Medal.
In addition to his practice, Murcutt is a highly sought-after teacher, critic, and lecturer whose wisdom continues to influence young and emerging architects for generations to come.
When announcing the Pritzker jury’s choice in 2002, Thomas J. Pritzker, president of The Hyatt Foundation, stated:
“Glenn Murcutt is a stark contrast to most of the highly visible architects of the day—his works are not large scale, the materials he works with, such as corrugated iron, are quite ordinary, certainly not luxurious; and he works alone. He acknowledges that his modernist inspiration has its roots in the work of Mies van der Rohe, but the Nordic tradition of Aalto, the Australian wool shed, and many other architects and designers such as Chareau, have been important to him as well. Add in the fact that all his designs are tempered by the land and climate of his native Australia, and you have the uniqueness that the jury has chosen to celebrate. While his primary focus is on houses, one of his public buildings completed in 1999, the Arthur and Yvonne Boyd Education Centre, has achieved acclaim as well, critics calling it ‘a masterwork’.”
For more, watch an interview with Glenn Murcutt here on ArchDaily, read The Architecture of Glenn Marcus Murcutt by Kenneth Frampton here and enjoy a selection of his work below.