Glenn Murcutt | Australia

Medal Awarded: 1992

Jury 1992

Gunel Adelercreutz, Chair, Finland
Aimo Murtomäki, Finland
Juhani Pallasmaa, Finland
Pentti Kareoja, Finland
Sverre Fehn, Norway
Kenneth Frampton, USA

“Glenn Murcutt’s work is a reassuring and inspiring example of the capacity of contemporary architecture to respond to new ecological, social, technological and aesthetic challenges. His architecture is a convincing synthesis of regional character, climate-conditioned solutions, technological rationality and unconstrained visual expression. In his designs Murcutt fuses ingredients of modernity and elements of an indigenous rural tradition to create structures that appear self-evident and innovative, idiosyncratic and traditional, locally rooted and universal at the same time. His buildings are a poetic interaction between nature, landscape and culture.”
An excerpt from the statement of the jury 1992

  • Fredericks White House Jamberoo, Australia, 1981–82 / 2001–2004 Photo: © Anthony Browell

Glenn Murcutt (1936–)

Glenn Murcutt is Australia’s most internationally recognized architect. He has been among the pioneers in developing a new ecologically responsive and socially responsible architecture as a valid alternative to the prodigality of the consumer society. Murcutt’s series of small, mostly rural and suburban houses represents a gradual and logical development of building types and economical construction methods that exhibit the ethical and poetic value of concentration and restraint. Murcutt’s buildings are humble and humane, yet they offer and inspiring example to practitioners and students of architecture the world over.

Murcutt explains that he thinks by drawing. He considers that architecture is a path of discovery, and discovery is a creative process. Drawing, to him, is an essential part of discovery. The hand, making drawings, arrives at solutions before the mind is able to comprehend them. This exhibition presents drawings that trace the journey of creation through various stages of the design process, from initial sketch to detailed construction drawings.

Born in London in 1936 to Australian parents, Murcutt spent his early childhood in New Guinea, before moving with his family to Sydney in 1941 where he graduated from Sydney Technical College (now the University of New South Wales) in 1961. Following a study tour of Europe and practical experience in leading architecture offices, he began his own practice in 1969. Since that time he has carried out his work predominantly alone, as a sole-practitioner, without staff but using creative collaborations on a project by project basis. He pursues an architecture that is rooted in Australia’s culture and its diverse climate and topography, while being active internationally, teaching and lecturing as a professor at universities throughout the world.

© Alvar-Aalto Medal 2019