Glenn is world renowned as a sole practitioner architect, who treasures and respects the Australian environment.
Murcutt’s oeuvre consists almost entirely of single-family houses. “I tire of working on one project for too long, and larger projects mean years,” he said. “To work on many smaller projects involves many clients. This provides the opportunity for much experimentation and hence stimulation for me.”
In 1992 Glenn was awarded the Gold Medal of the Australian Institute of Architects; in 1996 he was awarded the Order of Australia (AO); in 2002 he received the Pritzker Prize, considered the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for architecture; and in 2009 he was awarded the Gold Medal of the American Institute of Architects
In his 2002 Pritzker Prize acceptance speech, Murcutt said: …. “I cannot pursue my architecture without considering the minimization of energy consumption, simple and direct technologies, a respect for site, climate, place and culture. Together, these disciplines represent for me a fantastic platform for experimentation and expression. Of particular importance is the junction of the rational and the poetic resulting hopefully in works that resonate and belong to where they reside.”
Through the informal “Q&A” format, Glenn covered many varied topics including – his upbringing in Papua New Guinea, his mentors and peers at university; his close professional working relationships with James Taylor ( engineer), Anthony Browell ( architectural photographer ) and Wendy Lewin ( architect wife ) ; ideal client working relationships ; western culture of materialism and mediocrity : architectural awards and awards jurors in Australia ; and his pet hate ” The Land and Environment Court ” ( NB Glenn’s record to date 14 wins – 1 loss )
Since forming his own practice in Sydney in 1969, Murcutt has preferred to work alone, in contrast to most other architects of his stature. By working alone, I freed myself of the pressures of responsibility towards staff. He takes advantage of this freedom by traveling and teaching around the world. When a project warrants it, he collaborates with peer architects, including his wife, Wendy Lewin.
You will be able to read the full transcript of the “Q & A” session in the upcoming edition of Architecture Australia – due for release in Feb 2011.