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Glenn Murcutt

Sydney, Australia
1 of 2Anthony Browell

Glenn Murcutt (born 25 July 1936 in London) is a British born Australian architect and founding president of the Australian Architecture Association. He won the Alvar Aalto Medal in 1992, and the Pritzker Prize in 2002.

Murcutt was born in London to Australian parents. He grew up in the Morobe Province of Papua New Guinea, where he developed an appreciation for simple, vernacular architecture. He was educated at Manly Boys' High School and studied architecture at the Sydney Technical College, from which he graduated in 1961. Murcutt's early work experience was with various architects, such as Neville Gruzman, Ken Woolley and Bryce Mortlock which exposed him to their style of organic architecture focussing on relationships to nature. By 1969 Murcutt established his own practise in the Sydney suburb of Mosman.

Murcutt works as a sole practitioner, producing residential and institutional work all over Australia. Although he does not work outside the country, or run a large firm, his work has a worldwide influence, especially since Murcutt teaches master classes for beginning and established architects.

Murcutt's motto, 'touch the earth lightly' (orginally an aboriginal proverb), convinces him to design his works to fit into the Australian landscape features. His works are highly economical and multi-functional. Murcutt also pays attention to the environment such as wind direction, water movement, temperature and light surrounding his sites before he designs the building itself. Materials such as glass, stone, timber and steel are often included in his works.

Testament to his influence internationally was the award of the 2002 Pritzker Prize one of the highest distinctions in architecture. In the words of the Pritzker jury: "In an age obsessed with celebrity, the glitz of our 'starchitects', backed by large staffs and copious public relations support, dominate the headlines. As a total contrast, Murcutt works in a one-person office on the other side of the world ... yet has a waiting list of clients, so intent is he to give each project his personal best. He is an innovative architectural technician who is capable of turning his sensitivity to the environment and to locality into forthright, totally honest, non-showy works of art." In 2009 Murcutt won the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal.

Glenn currently lectures and teaches architectural studies as a professor at the UNSW Faculty of Built Environment.

Sydney, Australia
ludmilla, September 18th, 2013