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Aussie Architect Takes 2008's Top Honors

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Architects, Modernist houses, architects

One of Australia’s most famous and beloved architects has been recognized (or as they say Down Under, recognised) for his achievements yet again.   Having already been awarded the Pritzker Prize, known as the most prestigious prize in architecture, in 2002, Glenn Marcus Murcutt, is now the recipient of the 2009 AIA American Institute of Architects Gold Medal.  The man behind nearly 40 years of elegant, environmentally sustainable, socially responsible Modernist houses joins a diverse range of AIA honorees including Thomas Jefferson (given his award posthumously, of course), Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier and I. M. Pei selected over the 65-year history of the award. 

How did a London-born Australian who runs a solo practice a hemisphere away from the glitz and glamour of USA land this prestigious prize?  It could be that Murcutt has always been ahead of his time.  Long before it became fashionable, his projects were designed in harmony with and relation to the surrounding terrain, focusing on the unique geographical and regional conditions posed by the harsh Australian landscape.   The result?  A legacy of beautiful, functional buildings that are as fresh and modern today as they were when they were first constructed.   Today, his motto, “touch the earth lightly,” has become the mantra of socially-responsible architects across the globe. 

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