Interviewed in Sydney, September 5 2003
ORIS: A series of the most prestigious architectural awards such as the Pritzker Architectural Prize for 2002, the Alvar Aalto Medal (1992); the RAIA Gold Medal (1992); the RAIA Sir Zelman Cowen Award for Public Buildings (1994 and 1997); the Richard Neutra International Award for Architecture and Ecology in Denmark (1999) the Kenneth F. Brown Asia Pacific Culture and Design Award in the USA (2000), etc … have placed you at the centre of the international architectural arena.
What is it about your architecture, in your opinion, that resonates in the international context and appeals to the rest of the world?
Murcutt: I never think about it. First of all, there’s nobody more surprised in having this than I. You don’t do architecture to win awards. These prizes come, you don’t submit for these prizes, these prizes just come, it’s not a case of, would you please submit your work for this, it’s a case of they know the work. I’ve given lectures throughout the world, so when you give lectures and show the work, there’s going to be somebody in the audience that is probably sitting on a jury somewhere along the line, and they recognise, I suppose, the most common view would be, this is a very old fashioned world, – authenticity – and I’m interested in that, in a sense, a lack of flamboyance, a lack of notoriety, you see. I was raised on the basis that in life most of us are going to be doing ordinary things. The most important thing about doing those ordinary things is to do them extraordinarily well. I was introduced to that by my father, to be able to go to the beach when nobody knows who you are, so in other words, privacy is a major factor, for example, I don’t seek out, like you will have experienced, interviews, I don’t seek those out, it’s people wanting that.