Murcutts work is an inspiring example of contemporary architecture. I will look at the struggle Murcutt has faced being an Architect in Australia. And show, with examples, how his work is a convincing synthesis of regional character, climate-conditioned solutions, technological rationality and unconstrained visual expression, all the while satisfying the specific needs of the individual client.
Murcutt won the Alva Aalto Medal when Finland honoured an architect from the other side of the world in 1992. This medal is the closest award architecture has to the Nobel Prize. There was only 6 handed out between 1967 and 1992. (Hyatt, 1994, AV).
However successful, few are unaware of Murcutts never ending battle with conservative local councils. Almost every design ends up with Murcutt in court fighting council rules and regulations.
Murcutt believes his work is quite conservative on the whole, and doesn't understand why he has to fight council for reasonable and appropriate buildings. He says the problem is that the council's conservatism dates back to about 1912 and anything beyond that is considered modern. (Hyatt, 1994, AV).
When asked about his medal he says it marks the difficulty of tomorrow. He says life is not easy being an architect in Australia and he thinks it will only get harder to be able to do good work.
Murcutt continually strives to make designs to break away from the enforced conformity of red brick suburbia. With the red brick, small windowed house being very unappropriate for the Australian climate. (Hyatt, 1994, AV).
Writer and Broadcaster Phillip Adams says our suburbs are a national and international disgrace in terms of architecture. Adams believes Australian architects have to bear the burden for the brick veneerial disease that has overcome our suburbs. He argues that more of them should be politically challenging these notions. (Hyatt, 1994, AV).
Few Architects would defend, much less shape their lives to the sanctity and purity of design.