October 25, 2002

Architect Presents Elements of Design

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Discussing the incorporation of nature and the environment in his creations, Australian architect Glenn Murcutt, the Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate, spoke to an assembly of students from the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning at the State Theatre yesterday.

“Architecture is not only about buildings. It is about landscaping, it’s about environment. I love elements. I love to deal with fire, wind and landscape,” Murcutt said.

Though the lecture was not mandatory for students, it did attract many students from the architecture college.

“He is a very famous architect, and we all know his work. We were very excited that he was coming,” said Jing Wang ’06, a student in the architecture college.

The lecture began with an introduction by Prof. Nasrine Seraji, architecture. It then continued with Murcutt, who explained some of his reasons for being an architect.

“I am a very restless person. I felt I needed a combination of teaching, practice and travel,” he said.

Though Murcutt works on many projects, he explained that he did not go into architecture to make money. Instead of creating large projects, Murcutt creates smaller projects that he can experiment with.

Murcutt then showed slides of some of his work, including houses from all over Australia that incorporate the culture of the Australian Aboriginal people. He explained that it was important to incorporate nature and environment into buildings.

“We need to be friends with the landscape, not threatened by it,” Murcutt said.

Many students said that they greatly enjoyed the lecture.

“To hear him talk about his architecture is incredible. He is so incredibly intense about his ideas. It’s inspiring,” Wang said.

Students who attended the lecture were already familiar with Murcutt’s work, as he has often been praised by the architecture community. This past spring, Murcutt was awarded the 2002 Pritzker Prize. The Prize, the architectural equivalent of the Nobel Prize, was established in 1979. Since then it has been awarded to such famous names as I.M. Pei, Frank O. Gehry, and Rem Koolhaas. However, Murcutt is a standout in this group because, unlike most other winners of the award, he is a one man-practice.

The public lecture was part of the Preston H. Thomas Memorial Lecture series, sponsored by the Department of Architecture in the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning. It is part of an annual symposium which will concentrate on the debate over environmental sustainability. Entitled, “Towards a Well-Tempered Architecture,” the symposium takes place Friday and Saturday, Oct. 25-26.

According to many members of the architecture community, the lecture and the symposium have been well-publicized and well-received within the architecture college.

“This is the first architecture lecture I have ever been to. It sounded really interesting from the posters and I thought it was awesome,” said Jessica Boddorff ’05. “I mean, his whole analysis of his sites, all of his roofs were slanted to account for sun, heating, and cooling. The elements –that’s really the core of architecture.”

Archived article by Erica Temel