Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Shooting yourself in the architect

A topic of discussion at the Venice Biennale was the rebuilding of the Australian pavilion in the Giardini, the gardens where most of the national pavilions are located. A side conversation (like really on the side) was the possibility that New Zealand might go halves and share the primo space when it was built. Nice thought but too off left field to get much traction on the big Rock.

Anyway, the Aussies have now gone and set up an international competition through the Australia Council. That’s smart you might think, except it turns out that the rules preclude Australia's greatest (and that’s greatest in the greatest sense of the word greatest) architect from participating. That would be, of course, Glenn Murcutt, Australia’s (and Australasia’s) only Pritzker Prize winner (2002). 

The competition rules state that “only Australian architects with experience designing a public art space and experience delivering projects internationally will be eligible to enter.” So that’s Glenn Murcutt out, the guys who designed the Christchurch Art Gallery in. How stupid is that? As for Glenn Murcutt? Not happy.

There’s a petition calling for a rethink etc but the risk is that Murcutt and other top line architects will walk. You can read more here.

Image: Not an art gallery by Glenn Murcutt (Simpson-Lee House)