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Tuesday, 16 April, 2002, 09:42 GMT 10:42 UK
Top honour for Australian architect
Murcutt's C Fletcher and A Page house, in Kangaroo Valley, New South Wales
Murcutt gives each project his personal attention
An Australian architect noted for the simplicity and intimate scale of his buildings has won one of the top honours in his field.

Glenn Murcutt will receive the $100,000 (69,600) Pritzker Architecture Prize at a ceremony in Rome on 29 May.

The 66-year-old is the first Australian to win the coveted international award.

Glenn Murcutt
Murcutt, 66, concentrates on private houses

London-born Murcott works in Sydney, where he has lived since he graduated in architecture from the University of New South Wales in 1961.

As well as designing, he travels the world teaching and promoting his own, brand of architecture.

Murcutt is indebted to the style of modernist architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and the philosophy of essayist Henry David Thoreau.

He is highly unusual among winners of the prize in that the vast majority of his commissions are for private houses.

He has a long waiting list, and gives each project personal attention.

Nearly all of the previous 25 Pritzker recipients have specialised in large public works.

The Marika-Alderton House in Yirrkala Community, Eastern Arnheim Land, in the Northern Territory
The architect uses ordinary materials

They include Oscar Niemeyer, designer of the futuristic Brazilian city Brasilia, Frank O Gehry, architect of the Bilibao Guggenheim museum in northern Spain and the UK's Sir Norman Foster.

"His works are not large scale, the materials he works with, such as corrugated iron, are quite ordinary... and he works alone," said Thomas Pritzker, president of the Hyatt Foundation, which sponsors the award.

Pritzker Prize Chairman J Carter Brown said Murcutt "occupies a unique place in today's architectural firmament".

"All his designs are tempered by the land and climate of his native Australia," the judges noted.

The Pritzker prize was founded in 1979 with the avowed aim of honouring living architects whose work demonstrates "talent, vision and commitment".

The prize takes its name from the Pritzker family, owners of the Hyatt hotel chain, whose international business interests are based in Chicago.

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