Glenn Murcutt: Drawings, Buildings, Words by Fernisia Richtia Winnerdy

My brother, who majored in biochemistry, saw pictures of buildings on the book I was reading and asked (with his eyebrows mounted), “What’re those? Barns!?”

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Then Mom, though amazed during the first few pages, claimed the houses (which were in the suburbs of Australia) uncontextual should she wish to apply them in the crammed Jakarta -Dad didn’t even care why I spent the days with the books.

Anyway. I can’t blame them since I hadn’t known Glenn Murcutt myself until recently, I was fortunate to find these two books at OMAH library -which were wrote and published at the same time (2008) by the same writers (Maryam Gusheh, Tom Hanegan, Catherine Lassen, and Shoko Seyama) and publisher (Nobuyuki Endo), for the same event that was an exhibition of the architect in Japan.

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He is Glenn Murcutt, an Australian architect, who never builds outside Australia, whose sheds-like works were exhibited and documented bilingually in English and Japanese in those two books.

When I opened the pages, I was reminded about a project I’d fortuitously designed two years ago. Then my company was hired by aJapanese fetish to design a set of facility buildings for his shipyard at Tarakan, an island on the East of Kalimantan with extremely high degree of rain fall and wind velocity.

Here’s one of the buildings we designed there and one of Murcutt’s. Quite alike huh?

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My hypothesis of how that could be, are: One, Murcutt’s practice began after the world war two when Australian architects then stormed by architectural information from around the globe; It’s just like what’s been happening since 1990s in Indonesia. Two, Murcutt was inspired by Mies van der Rohe’s international style and Pierre Charreau’s notion about house as an instrument for living, as well as Australian, Californian, Finnish, andJapanese architecture; while kids my age, by *niqlo (oops! <–kidding!). And three, maybe because Murcutt asked “what can I do about and with what’s here?” While I, lacking knowledge about architectural styles, starchitects, etc., etc., did what I could based on what the site offered.

Unfortunately though, albeit the Japanese style and the likeness resulted, mine wasn’t built while Murcutt’s definitely were -for like hundreds of times.

Even one of his works, the Murcutt Studio at Kempsey, is one of the twenty five buildings that Simon Unwin believes every architect should understand (January 2015, second edition). Covered in seven pages of the book, it is acknowledge among the other 24 owned by big names names like Mies van der Rohe, Frank Llyod Wright, Le Corbusier, Peter Zumthor, and others.

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Casa Del Ojo De Agua ; Neuendorf House ; Barcelona Pavilion ; Truss Wall House ; Farnsworth House ; La Congiunta ; Un Cabanon ; Esherick House ; Maison A Bordeaux ; Danteum ; Fallingwater ; Villa Savoye ; Kempsey Guest Studio ; Condominium One, The Sea Ranch ; Villa “, 1027 ; Church of St. Petri ; Villa Busk ; Villa Mairea ; Thermal Baths, Vals ; Ramesh House ; Bardi House ; Vitra Fire Station ; Mohrmann House ; Bioscleave House

“This is a new edition of Twenty Buildings Every Architect Should Understand (2010) with another five buildings analysed. The twenty-five buildings in this book are presented not as being the only twenty-five buildings every architect should understand, nor as the twenty-five ‘best’ buildings ever. Such assertions would provoke argument about the dimension of ‘greatness’ but that has not been my purpose, neither in the first nor this second edition. This book is for those struggling to do architecture.” – Simon Unwin

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About this reality (why didn’t things happen the same way between me and him) this is how far I can concretely lay on the able for you, his years of making buildings and -of course- drawings:

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Regarding his thought about drawing, which for Murcutt is a tool to observe and discover, in the end of an interview by Jim Lewis for the New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/20/magazine/20murcutt-t.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0) Murcutt underlined:

““I’m telling you this,” he said, his voice rising. “This is my statement: Any work of architecture that has been designed, any work of architecture that has the potential to exist, or that exists, was discovered. It wasn’t created. Our role” — and the “our” seemed to refer to everyone on the planet — “is to be the discoverer, not the creator.””

This writing isn’t to cope with the showering information existed out there -about Glenn and his father Sydney Arthur Murcutt:

(http://www.themonthly.com.au/issue/2011/october/1317869705/peter-robb/fathers-sons), about his life, books, drawings, everything (http://www.dedeceblog.com/2011/01/11/glenn-murcutt-the-tin-man/), about a talk with his best friend, Richard Leplastier (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ESYEENgUGA), about his thought on the importance of drawing:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5cETyaK6AaA), and about many more,- but hopefully this glimpse on his buildings and drawings can complete his words in the movie review “Public Talk with Glenn Murcutt” which is hold at OMAH on Sunday, March 1 2015.