Archive 2004

Architects shape bid for our cultural heart

The Australian 31.01.2004 The Australian newspaper (31/01/2004) carried the following article in the Domain section by Urban Affairs writer Bernard Lane.

Article text:

LEADING architect Glenn Murcutt has invited 12,500 of his peers to join a push to spread an appreciation of the cultural virtues of architecture. Mr Murcutt, Australia ’s only winner of the Pritzker prize — the Nobel of architecture — is the founding president of the new Australian Architecture Association.

In a letter yesterday to 12,500 architects and building designers inviting them to join, he says the founders share “a deep love of architecture and believe if we can now put in the sustained effort we will realise our vision to enable the public to understand, enjoy and discuss architecture”.

Harry Seidler, Richard Johnson, Wendy Lewin, Ian Moore and Alex Popov, all prominent in their field, are the other founders.

According to James Grose, a leading Sydney architect and vice-president of the new association, Australians have been quietly preparing themselves for a deeper fascination with design and architecture.

“As a culture gets more sophisticated, people want to know more about their habitat and their environment and the way they Interact with those things,” he said. “Architecture is not black magic it’s about providing habitat Mr Murcutt that can lift the spirit.”

Mr Grose said the association would set up a think tank that would debate contentious projects and run architecture tours. Individual membership will cost $150 and be open to the public .Mr Grose said the association would complement the long-established Royal Australian Institute of Architects, which he said had to wrestle with the complexities of practice facing its members.

“We’re not saying, therefore, that the institute has dropped the ball in relation to culture,” he said.

RAIA president David Parken welcomed any promotion of architecture but agreed there was potential for public confusion of the two bodies. “We’re very much involved also in promoting contemporary architecture through our award system,” he said.