December 6, 2008
by Canadian Architect
The AIA Board of Directors voted to award the 2009 AIA Gold Medal to Australian architect Glenn Marcus Murcutt, Hon. FAIA. Murcutt was recognized by the AIA Board in large part for the depth of his work and the breadth of his influence.
Murcutt, a sole practitioner, is noted for his ecologically responsive and socially responsible Modernist suburban and rural homes with which he incorporates a variety of natural materials.
“Recently, our architectural field experienced an ‘ecological boom,’” writes 2005 AIA Gold Medallist Tadao Ando in a letter of support for Murcutt’s nomination. “However, without relation to such a trend of time, Glenn Murcutt has always been focusing on the geographical and regional conditions, from the very beginning of his career.”
Although Murcutt works exclusively in Australia, he has had and continues to have a profound impact on architecture around the world. “While some might characterize a single-continent geographic range of work as “regional,” the effect of Mr. Murcutt’s is amplified by impassioned and extensive lectures and a commitment to teaching throughout the world,” said Tom Howorth, FAIA, chair of the AIA Committee on Design’s Gold Medal Committee.
Murcutt, born in London in 1936, grew up in the remote Morobe district of New Guinea. Living close to the land helped develop Murcutt’s preference for simple, vernacular architecture. Murcutt studied architecture at the University of New South Wales from 1956 to 1961, during which he worked with a series of architects. He established his own practice in Sydney in 1970.
The AIA Gold Medal, voted on annually, is the highest honor the AIA confers on an individual. The Gold Medal honors an individual whose significant body of work has had a lasting influence on the theory and practice of architecture. Murcutt will be presented the award at the American Architectural Foundation’s Accent on Architecture Gala in February.
Murcutt becomes the 65th AIA Gold Medallist, joining the ranks of such visionaries as Thomas Jefferson, Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Sullivan, LeCorbusier, Louis Kahn, I.M. Pei, Cesar Pelli, Edward Larrabee Barnes and last year’s recipient, Renzo Piano. In recognition of his legacy to architecture, Murcutt’s name will be chiselled into the granite Wall of Honor in the lobby of the AIA headquarters in Washington, DC.