Glenn Murcutt at the UW / by Michelle Linden

Last night C & I attended a lecture by Glenn Murcutt at the University of Washington. Although after we arrived and settled into our seats, I realized that it wasn't actually going to be a lecture, but rather an interview of this famous architect. I started to get a little nervous that an image free show would be difficult to get through... I mean after all, as architects and designers we tend to use images to express and understand ideas. Its hard to imagine a lecture by an architect without any sort of graphics.

However, I shouldn't have worried. Glenn Murcutt is in actuality one of the most charismatic speakers I have had the opportunity to experience. While long winded at times, he has an obvious passion for his work and undeniable charm. His answers varied from clear, poetic, and humorous, and it was as easy for us to get lost in his thoughts as it was for him.

Listening to Glenn Murcutt speak gave me the opportunity to reflect on my own goals for life and practice. It was interesting to hear him speak so passionately of his work, and yet also speak passionately of his personal life. It often seems that the more successful architects become, the less devoted they are to enjoying life outside of architecture. This is not true of Mr. Murcutt. He has developed a practice (until very recently a sole practitioner with no employees) that allows him to pick the jobs he wants, provide the ultimate care and design, and still enjoy life outside the practice. Unlike many well known architects, Mr. Murcutt has no interest in practicing abroad. In fact, he teased about other 'starchitects' who are continously building in new areas saying, "dogs need to pee on every tree... architects need to pee on every country." By focusing on design in Australia, Glenn Murcutt can have complete control of his jobs and the ensuing result. Although as he mentions, he will never be the richest architect by restricting his practice, his life and design are extremely fulfilling because he refuses to settle.

If you ever have the chance to attend a lecture by Glenn Murcutt (or even better, participate in one of his studios) then don't hesitate... He is certainly one of the most interesting and engaging architects I have ever heard speak.