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Glenn Murcutt
, 1980 (printed 2017)

by Robert McFarlane

inkjet print (sheet: 33.0 cm x 48.5 cm, image: 23.9 cm x 35.9 cm)

Glenn Murcutt AO (b. 1936), architect, received the world’s highest architectural honour when he was awarded the Pritzker Prize in April 2002. Having spent a good deal of his youth in New Guinea, where he learned to love simple shapes and materials, Murcutt only just scraped into a university architecture course. As a student, he drew on principles he had learned while working for his father, who had a number of building businesses in Sydney after the war. Murcutt is unusual amongst Pritzker winners in that he works alone, mostly on residential homes; he has never made a skyscraper or a tourist attraction; and he uses mostly basic materials. He uses shades, louvres, fully opening walls and carefully planned ventilation to enable his buildings to respond instantly to changing conditions and requirements. His overriding design philosophy is that dwellings should ‘touch the earth lightly’. Murcutt’s latest project is the Australian Islamic Centre, an unconventional mosque in suburban Melbourne. The Islamic Centre project is at the heart of an intimate film about Murcutt by Catherine Hunter, Glenn Murcutt – Spirit of Place (2016).

One of Murcutt’s first significant projects was the Marie Short House, Kempsey, designed in the mid-1970s, purchased and altered by the architect in 1980.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Purchased 2017
Accession number: 2017.44