Glenn Murcutt is a modernist, a naturalist, an environmentalist, a humanist, an economist and ecologist encompassing all of these distinguished qualities in his practice as a dedicated architect who works alone from concept to realization of his projects in his native Australia. Although his works have sometimes been described as a synthesis of Mies van der Rohe and the native Australian wool shed, his many satisfied clients and the scores more who are waiting in line for his services are endorsement enough that his houses are unique, satisfying solutions. Generally, he eschews large projects which would require him to expand his practice, and give up the personal attention to detail that he can now give to each and every project. His is an architecture of place, architecture that responds to the landscape and to the climate.
His houses are fine tuned to the land and the weather. He uses a variety of materials, from metal to wood to glass, stone, brick and concrete—always selected with a consciousness of the amount of energy it took to produce the materials in the first place. He uses light, water, wind, the sun, the moon in working out the details of how a house will work—how it will respond to its environment. His structures are said to float above the landscape, or in the words of the Aboriginal people of Western Australia that he is fond of quoting, they “touch the earth lightly.” Glenn Murcutt’s structures augment their significance at each stage of inquiry. One of Murcutt’s favorite quotations from Henry David Thoreau, who was also a favorite of his father, “Since most of us spend our lives doing ordinary tasks, the most important thing is to carry them out extraordinarily well.” With the awarding of the 2002 Pritzker Architecture Prize, the jury finds that Glenn Murcutt is more than living up to that adage.