This article is from the archives of the UB Reporter.

Pritzker-Prize winner Glenn Murcutt to deliver Clarkson Lecture

Published: November 11, 2004

Contributing Editor

Glenn Murcutt, the Australian architect known internationally for his inspiring designs that integrate architecture and environment, will be the 2004 Will and Nan Clarkson Visiting Chair in Architecture in the School of Architecture and Planning.



He will present the Clarkson Lecture, "Architecture: Working with Place, Technology and Culture," at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday in 147 Diefendorf Hall, South Campus. The illustrated talk is free of charge and open to the public and will be followed by a public reception.

Murcutt, the winner of the 2002 Pritzker Prize—architecture's most distinguished award—has designed an impressive series of modest projects. He is well known for what Architecture Week calls "environmentally sensitive, modernist houses that respond to their climate and surroundings in the vast Australian landscape." His design work has been described as "a synthesis of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and the native Australian wool shed."

The architect also claims inspiration from Henry David Thoreau. His buildings are beautifully made, use simple materials and "touch the earth lightly," a reference to an Australian Aboriginal saying and to the way that the work seeks to safeguard the surrounding landscape.

Murcutt's designs also capitalize on natural light, and are so attuned to the wind that even those sited in tropical climates do not need air conditioning.

"In his four decades of practice, Murcutt has produced an impressive body of work for public and domestic buildings," says Brian Carter, dean of the School of Architecture and Planning. "Each of his designs is characterized by its site specificity, environmental responsiveness, programmatic invention, and a meticulous attention to craft."

Carter points out, however, that "Murcutt maintains that architecture by definition must embrace an intelligent response to environmental issues, and his comprehensive approach to architecture has served as an inspiring example for several generations of architects."

Murcutt holds 26 awards from the Royal Australian Institute of Architecture for projects he has designed, a National Jury Award for Aboriginal Housing, the Royal Danish Academy of Architects Green Pin Award for Architecture and Ecology, the Thomas Jefferson Medal for Architecture, the Alvar Alto Medal, the Richard Neutra Award for Architecture and Teaching, and the Thomas Jefferson Medal for Architecture.

He is an honorary fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects, American Institute of Architects, Royal Architects Institute of Canada, and Suomen Arkkitehtiliitto (the Finnish Association of Architects); a life-time fellow of the Royal Australian Institute of Architecture, and a member of the Order of Australia.