“Fabulous, Far Away and Gigantic”


by Naomi Stead 

(text reprinted with permission)

“Fabulous, Far Away and Gigantic”: Myth in Australian Architectural Authorship

This paper represents a foray into what is, for the author, a new research area, exploring questions of architectural authorship, myth, and representation. [1] It is concerned more with the reception than the production of architecture, and in particular with the way that architecture is understood (or not), appreciated (or not), and constructed in the popular mind. There are two broader questions that underlie this enquiry, and which constitute its secret motivation: the first is the question of why, in architecture, the author seemingly never died. This is of course a reference to Roland Barthes’ seminal 1968 essay, ‘The Death of the Author’, to which the paper will return. The second question is a pondering on the topic of why (aside from the accepted fact that he is a good architect) the work of the Australian architect Glenn Murcutt is so well liked and well received, in Australia and internationally. These two questions fit within the broader context of a generally post-colonial exploration of how identity is constructed in and through architecture, to what instrumental ends it is used, and what this means both for architecture and for culture more broadly.

It could be argued that the mythology of (lone white male) authorship is particularly strong in Australian architecture, where it is amplified – from the outside, at least – by a kind of frontier exoticism, and a ‘regionalist’ fetishisation of site, climate, and place. A key illustration of this is the award of the 2002 Pritzker Prize to Murcutt, who famously works alone, designing pristine pavilion houses in the bush. The principal ‘text’ that I will discuss and draw upon for this paper is thus the ‘laureate announcement’ for Murcutt’s receipt of this major architectural prize. This announcement is effectively a media release, containing information about the prize itself, the formal award citation and statements from the individual jurors, and a long biographical essay. There is also an extensive archive of images of Murcutt and his buildings. The text is unsigned, but it seems safe to assume it was prepared by a media relations copywriter in the employ of the Pritzker foundation, and in any case is an ‘official’ release of the foundation. Now documents such as this have not traditionally been regarded as legitimate subjects of academic enquiry; they have been at best seen as trivial, and at worst as biased and unscholarly advertorial. But deconstruction teaches us to attend to precisely these marginal and seeming inconsequential footnotes in culture, and it is in this spirit that I undertake the close reading contained herein.

Myth and the movies

As a kind of prologue, though, it is worthwhile to point out that Murcutt’s work was not, in the beginning, the principal object of enquiry of this project. In fact, it started out as an investigation of how architectural authorship had been represented in a documentary film: ‘In the Mind of the Architect’, a three-part series and multimedia interface, produced for the Australian Broadcasting Commission and first shown on national television in 2000. This was a milestone in Australian architectural culture, offering a snapshot of national production at the turn of the twenty-first century. ‘In the Mind of the Architect’ is a work of applied criticism, didactic explication and exposition. Undeniably, though, it is also a work of narrative; it is as much the ‘story’ of a number of architects as it is a description of their buildings. Written and directed by a non-architect, it is a ‘story’ in which the many interviewed architects are cast, often somewhat reluctantly, as characters, and more pointedly as authors. The very title of the series reinforces notions of authorship, and it is the complexities, difficulties and dramas of such authorship which provides the film’s principal narrative thread. Murcutt himself is described in the film as ‘the man most often identified with Australian architecture… the marriage broker between the Australian landscape and European occupation… between the old world and the new.’ In light of this, his work lies at the centre of debates not only about architectural authorship, but also its imbrication with architectural identity, and architecture’s relation to landscape. 

The film’s publicity declares that ‘[t]his series is about politics, art, history, poetry, philosophy… about dreams and despair. The passions of complex individuals, their colleagues, detractors and admirers. These documentaries aim to trace the spirit and politics of these artists in our predominantly secular Australian culture.’ [2] This last reference is particularly curious – does this imply that in a secular culture we must fall back on the metaphysics of art, rather than religion? Or does it imply that architects are in fact messianic creative figures, bringing forth new worlds? Certainly this latter is characteristic of the way in which architects have featured in that other genre where they so often appear as characters: narrative film. As Nancy Levison has observed,

Central to the mystique of architecture – in life and in the movies – is the idea of the architect as a person of marked creativity, creativity so strong it can seem a primal or religious force, allowing the architect to envision what does not yet exist, and so fundamental to his identity that others cannot help but acknowledge it, with various degrees of admiration, awe, envy, and fear. Central to the popularisation of this mystique – architect as artistic messiah – is The Fountainhead[3]

There is not the space here to enter into a detailed discussion of this, King Vidor’s potboiler film of 1949, nor Ayn Rand’s turgid novel on which it was based. But despite the many problems with both book and film, the figure of Howard Rourke, arrogant and virile hero architect, casts a long shadow over any discussion of authorship in the discipline. There are scores of other filmic examples, other characters whose profession is central to their place in a larger narrative. The associations seem all to be good: creative but professional, insightful but single-minded, idealistic but practical, masculine but sensitive (given these characters are overwhelmingly men), interesting but competent, and the list goes on. It is easy to see the strange mystique that architecture continues to hold, despite the ugly, or just plain boring, realities of actual architectural practice. It is also easy to see both the cause and the stake of the mythology: this is the architect framed as artist, and architecture framed as an art. And this brings us back to Glenn Murcutt. 

Murcutt the Australian Architect

As (arguably) the single most successful architect in Australia’s history, Murcutt’s influence looms large over the local scene. Whether through his doing or not, his own personal mythology is thoroughly infused with the mystique of the author. At the same time as his famously solo practice is celebrated for its singularity, there is a sleight of hand whereby his apparent uniqueness and small output is imbued with a broad significance and applicability, one which seems able to stand for the identity of Australian architecture more generally. Part of this should be quickly dismissed: Murcutt’s buildings can in no way be seen as prototypes for housing in Australia, or representative of the way that the vast majority of people live in this country. While they are beautiful architectural works, they are still boutique, one-off weekend houses for the very select group of people who can afford them. So why is it, then, that Murcutt’s work takes on such a strong representational role?

Marie Short House, Kempsey, New South Wales, Australia, by Glenn Murcutt

In asking this question, it is first necessary to lay out some exclusions. It is both speculation, and peripheral to my enquiry here, to question whether Murcutt deliberately and cynically manipulates such mythologies to his own advantage. The traps of such a question have already been sprung upon the Melbourne academic Kim Dovey, whose attempt to ‘demythologise’ the way Murcutt’s Marika Alderton House had been used to construct a romantic narrative about Aboriginality received a ferocious critical response. Dovey correctly wrote that ‘Murcutt’s early buildings … [have been] theorized as having roots in an authentic and spirtitual relationship with the land.’ He continued, ‘[t]o use the language of the myth, it is as if these “leaves of iron” have fallen from the eucalypt trees to “touch the earth lightly,” a key phrase that links the work to both Aboriginality and ecological sustainability.’[4] Dovey had been careful to make a distinction between Murcutt’s work itself, and the way it had been received and represented, but critics of his essay refused to see this distinction, or deliberately collapsed it, and Dovey was set upon for his apparent attack on this most holy of Australian architectural cows.

In fact, the question of whether Murcutt believes in and perpetuates the myth himself, or whether there is simply a fortuitous coincidence between his work and what the world wants to believe about Australian architecture, is largely immaterial here – or in fact is the subject of a different paper. What can be asked here is why Murcutt’s work, high-calibre as it may be, has enjoyed such phenomenal international success. There are many good architects in Australia. Possibly even architects as good as Murcutt. So what is it about this work in particular, or about the persona of this architect, which has elevated these projects above the rest? Or, to put this another way, is there anything more to this success than the world’s romantic appreciation for a neo-colonialist pastoral ideal? As I will attempt to demonstrate below, this question is thrown into sharp relief in the popular reception of Murcutt’s oeuvre.

Magney house, Bingie, New South Wales, Australia

Murcutt’s houses are characterised by lightweight construction, the use of post-and-beam steel framing and corrugated sheet steel cladding, occasional use of elevated floor planes on columns, simple but expressive roof forms which tend to thin or ‘feather’ at their edges, prominent shading and water catching devices, and a blurring of sharp distinctions between inside and outside, enclosed and expansive space. His most celebrated works are the Marie Short House of 1975, Ball-Eastaway House of 1983, Magney House at Bingie Bingie, 1984, and the Marika Alderton House in East Arnhem Land of 1994. On the level of architectural technique these works share a precision and refinement in detailing, clarity and simplicity in planning, luminously daylit, minimal interiors, and a sensitivity in siting and orientation on their predominantly rural or bush sites. All of these qualities are admirably illustrated in the work of many distinguished photographers. But it is also worthwhile to look at these photographs a little more closely. I am not the first to undertake such a scrutiny: Dovey, in his outstanding but contentious analysis of the Marika/Alderton House, wrote that

It is interesting to note what has been screened out of the photographs. The electricity poles, wires, and houses next door have been made to disappear through a combination of digital erasure, cropping, camera angles, and exposures. The photographs operate to establish a congruence between the architectural ideal of the pristine house in a coastal landscape and the idea of the Aborigine living in harmony with nature. The house has been wrapped in myth to meet its architectural audience. [5]

Likewise, in the images included in the Pritzker Prize media pack, the houses are often depicted obscured, even completely hidden, by trees. Images are frequently taken from ground level, causing the buildings to seem like they have either settled gently onto, or grown out of, the site. And of course many of the images emphasise the spatial isolation of these pavilion buildings – autonomous and self-contained architectural objects, nestled in an ideal landscape. The crowning illustrations, for me, are an image of the Magney House complete with cows, and a portrait of Murcutt sitting at the wheel of a tractor, with the caption “Glenn Murcutt on his tractor for his other activity, farming.” The disingenuousness of this, to a critical eye, is breathtaking.

National identity in Australia has long been strongly landscape based, this much is clear. Richard Weller has noted that ‘[i]n the fine arts and popular culture, Australians have drawn on landscape as the prime referent for their identity and mythologies… In the vernacular, the land is simplified and mythologized as either beach, outback, bush, suburbia or city’. [6] There are correspondences here with Leo Marx’s 1964 book, The Machine in the Garden: Technology and the Pastoral Ideal in America, where he describes how American social and cultural identity has been shaped by a Virgilian pastoral ideal: of a new, enlightened civilisation existing harmoniously in a new, virgin landscape. [7] This enduring historical idea has, however, been consistently unsettled by the intrusion of technology, in the form of the industrialised ‘machine’. These two forces have coexisted as powerful symbols, but never been fully reconciled into a ‘pastoral fable’ because of their fundamentally conflicting nature. There are clearly many parallels with the Australian situation, and Murcutt’s work has been framed as fundamentally linked to such ‘pastoral fables’. His buildings have been represented as benign architectural machines, realising the hoped-for redemption of technology, even its elevation to a state of harmony with nature. 

The Pritzker Prize

The Pritzker prize was established in 1979, and is awarded annually. With its generous prize money and reputation as the ‘Nobel Prize for architecture’, it is arguably the most prestigious award for architects in the world today. Its stated purpose is to ‘honor annually a living architect whose built work demonstrates a combination of those qualities of talent, vision and commitment, which has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture.’ [8] Also according to the Pritzker Foundation,

The field of architecture was chosen by the Pritzker family because of their keen interest in building due to their involvement with developing the Hyatt Hotels around the world; also because architecture was a creative endeavor not included in the Nobel Prizes. The procedures were modeled after the Nobels, with the final selection being made by the international jury with all deliberations and voting in secret. Nominations are continuous from year to year with over 500 nominees from more than 40 countries being considered each year. [9] 

The fact that the Pritzker prize is awarded to an architect is instructive. It is not presented to a building, as many other architectural prizes including the Australian national awards system, administered by the Royal Australian Institute of Architects, largely all are. It is the author who is recognised and rewarded by the Prizker prize, more than the works themselves. 

The jury citation for the Murcutt’s Prize award is replete with references to purity, clarity, and the mysticism of place. J. Carter Brown, the jury chairman, commented that 


Glenn Murcutt occupies a unique place in todayʼs architectural firmament. In an age obsessed with celebrity, the glitz of our ʻstarchitects,ʼ backed by large staffs and copious public relations support, dominate the headlines. As a total contrast, our laureate works in a one-person office on the other side of the world from much of the architectural attention, yet has a waiting list of clients, so intent is he to give each project his personal best. [10]

The image of the ‘unique’ master, working humbly alone, unaided by assistant or by computer, armed only with a pencil and a vision, and giving his ‘personal best’ to the design of elegant neo-Miesian pavilions in the bush, is powerful. There is also an irony here; in Australian circles Murcutt is perhaps the closest thing there is to a ‘starchitect’, he is certainly the most well known by the general public, and just because he does not have a ‘large staff’ or ‘copious public relations support’ does not mean he is not a celebrity. Clearly, though, he is seen by the jury as an authentic celebrity rather than one who has been framed and manufactured by spin merchants and PR agents. Likewise, his marginal location, ‘on the other side of the world from much of the architectural attention’, is upturned, in a curious dialectical reversal, to position him as a particularly deserving winner. It is as though the Pritzker prize, itself a key instrument in the construction of architectural celebrity, has unearthed an genuine but little-known star, who gleams all the brighter for having been plucked from modest and marginal obscurity. This is perhaps the most interesting irony of all: it is surely the Pritzker Prize, with its populist overtones and international pretensions, which is partly responsible for ‘dominating the headlines’ with ‘the glitz of our ‘starchitects’’ in the first place. It could also presumably be expected to transform Murcutt, as laureate, into the exact opposite of the (modest, obscure, marginal) qualities he is here applauded for. 

Carlos Jimenez, another juror and professor of architecture at Rice University, describes Murcutt’s work thus: 

Nurtured by the mystery of place and the continual refinement of the architect’s craft, Glenn Murcutt’s work illustrates the boundless generosity of a timely and timeless vision. The conviction, beauty and optimism so evident in the work of this most singular, yet universal architect remind us that architecture is foremost an ennobling word for humanity.

Here again we see a reference to Murcutt, architect/author, as paradoxically ‘singular, yet universal’, with a ‘timely and timeless vision’. The work appears to be secondary – or at least to be framed as entirely relative to and dependent upon the architect himself. The last line even leaves open the ambiguous possibility that it is this architect’s ‘humanity’, his ‘conviction’ and ‘optimism’, that infuses his work with such an ‘ennobling’ spirit. Slipping easily backwards and forwards between the characteristics of the built work and those of the architect, between subjective intention and objective form, the passage illustrates a very high level of identification between author and architectural work.

Finally, juror Jorge Silvetti, who chairs the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University, writes that

The architecture of Glenn Murcutt surprises first, and engages immediately after because of its absolute clarity and precise simplicity—a type of clarity that soon proves to be neither simplistic nor complacent, but inspiringly dense, energizing and optimistic. His architecture is crisp, marked and impregnated by the unique landscape and by the light that defines the fabulous, far away and gigantic mass of land that is his home, Australia. Yet his work does not fall into the easy sentimentalism of a chauvinistic revisitation of the vernacular. Rather, a considered, serious look would trace his buildings’ lineage … to modern architecture, and particularly to its Scandinavian roots planted by Asplund and Lewerentz, and nurtured by Alvar Aalto.

It is a cheap shot, but a necessary one – certainly one can accept that Australia may be fabulous, gigantic, and a ‘mass of land’ (as though it was just that, a landscape with no cities), but also ‘far away’, as Silvetti rapturises? This is of course entirely dependent on position. Far away from where, and what, exactly? And why should it be remarkable that Murcutt’s work does not fall into the ‘easy sentimentalism of a chauvinistic revisitation of the vernacular’? Would one say that about the work of a European or North American architect? Is this the latent temptation that haunts us all in Australian architecture – are we all fighting off the urge to design neo-woolsheds? I think not, unless you forget that the country is overwhelmingly urbanised, that the vast majority of its population and its architecture is located in cities on the coastal fringe. And why is it also important that ‘a serious look would trace his buildings’ lineage to modernism’? Is this the guarantor, that the work is still ‘us’ (the centre) as well as ‘them’ (the periphery), still in the tradition of the mainstream and not entirely in the margin, still drawing on the same canons as everyone else? Note the reference to those other great authors, their names intoned like an incantation: Asplund, Lewerentz, Aalto; in this construction, Murcutt seems to settle easily into his place amongst this panoply of great masters.


The Pritzker prize reinforcing the myth

On one level all of this response is not surprising: architecture is a markedly sluggish discipline, strangely unaffected by postcolonial critique, it carries a kind of theoretical inertia that means it still maintains an astonishing reliance on a canon of great white western masters. This can be seen in education, in criticism, and in pervasive ideas of architectural influence and precedence: the work of the fathers being constantly reused and refined in the ongoing project of architecture. This is clearly evident in the Pritzker Prize’s own history: all but one of the winners have been men, and all have been from the developed western world, despite the foundation’s international pretensions and its rather self-important declaration that there have been 29 laureates chosen since the prize was founded in 1979, only eight of which have been from the U.S’. In fact, Murcutt is about as exotic as it has come, the furthest that the award has ever strayed from the hallowed architectural grounds of the US, Western Europe, and Japan.

Now this may all sound like a petulant and hopeless attempt to assert Australia’s importance in the architectural firmament, but that is not my intention here. It is true that Australia’s presence on the world architecture scene is slight, that it hardly rates a mention in terms of practice, discourse, or education. But this is why Murcutt’s work, and its reception, is so interesting and significant. He is one of very few Australian architects, historical or contemporary, to be noticed in the architectural mainstream. Harry Seidler has a profile in Europe, but he is after all a Vienese émigré. [11] The Sydney Opera House is a widely recognised building, but it was designed by Joern Utzon, a Dane. It seems that it is precisely because Murcutt’s work fulfils the expectations that the world holds, that it seems to tick all of the boxes of exotic antipodean architecture but without being too different or alien, that it can take this role on the world stage.

So the very formulation of the Pritzker Prize can be seen to reinforce and reconstruct the mystique of architectural authorship. In reality, architecture is almost always a collaborative process, the work of a large number not only of architects, but engineers and consultants, not to mention builders and tradespeople and the clients themselves.

One of the main problems with concepts of architectural authorship is that of mediation – the notion that there is some direct, transparent, unmediated movement from the author’s idea to the work, an idea particularly embodied in the architectural sketch. Such concepts of unmediated transferral are problematic enough in writing or painting, those arts which are in fact solitary and (ostensibly at least) the product of a single mind. In architecture they have always been absurd – for a building to spring fully formed from the brow of an architect is a simple impossibility. But this is surely part of the appeal of Murcutt’s work: its scale is such that it could conceivably be all the work of one man, or at least its modest size makes it easier to overlook its inevitable collaborativeness. Of course one could draw a distinction between the design of the building and the building itself, with the former being the actual work of the author and the latter a kind of after-effect, but this distinction is surely not in the mind of a lay audience.

The idea of the architect as lone hero genius requires that the rosette of authorship be pinned on one lapel alone, and in Murcutt’s case that is conveniently emblematised by his being a sole practitioner. There is also a kind of equivalence, or interchangeability, between the autonomous designer and the spatially isolated buildings – each alone in its surroundings. Even in those cases where Murcutt does not work alone, for example in the recent Arthur and Yvonne Boyd Education Centre, this is either conveniently forgotten, or framed in terms of a collaboration of equals; of a group of privileged authors coming together, rather than anything so mundane as an employee.

Myth making and auto/biography

In this context, the biographical text that accompanies the Pritzker Prize citation is itself a fascinating document, and an object lesson in romanticist myth-making. It begins with the rather paradoxical argument that ‘Glenn Murcutt is either one of Australia’s best kept secrets, or one of the world’s most influential architects. Perhaps, both.’ It then continues with a long quotation from Murcutt on one of his favourite subjects: the pettiness of local councils.

I have had to fight for my architecture. I have fought for it right from the outset because councils have clearly found the work a threat…. I have had the greatest trouble with planning, building and health department staff, many of whom have backgrounds unrelated to architecture, but offer very conservative judgments in taste and aesthetics. [12]

The subtext here is clear, as are the shades of The Fountainhead’s Howard Roarke: these small-minded bureaucrats have no idea about architecture, and they are threatened by what they can not understand. The text then poses the hushed question of ‘[w]hat manner of man and architect is this who could so openly state his opposition to the people who exercise so much control over what and how things should be built?’ Not surprisingly, it appears that the answer can be found in Murcutt’s ‘colourful’ family and upbringing. ‘And “colorful” is a mild adjective in this application’, the un-named author continues breathlessly, noting significantly that ‘Murcutt’s life is the stuff of which movies are made.’ 

What follows is an account of Murcutt’s swashbuckling father, his adventures in New Guinea as a gold prospector, boot maker, carpenter, and ‘builder of houses’, who ‘even had time to indulge his interest in music, buying a gold-plated saxophone.’ This notalgic vision of Arthur Murcutt as a kind of hardy antipodean Rennaissance man is expanded even further with a discussion of his reading habits;

… his father would take several books with him each day when he went up to the gold mining area, and [later told him] “I got my education in the forests of New Guinea…” Jung, Freud and particularly Henry David Thoreau were his father’s favorites, and the latter became one of Glenn’s as well. [13]

The influence of Thoreau’s thought, both on Murcutt’s architecture and more importantly on the mythology that surrounds it, can hardly be underestimated. In fact Thoreau’s individualism, his celebration of the autonomous human spirit over social conformity, and his essentialist drive to be ‘close to nature’ are the pillars which frame the reception of Murcutt’s work. It is true that the reference here to Freud seems ironic, given the overwhelming importance that the profile attaches to the influence of Murcutt’s father. While Glenn was still a young boy, Murcutt senior purportedly ‘became increasingly interested in architecture, subscribing to Architectural Forum, where he saw Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth house, and was so impressed by it that he made it required reading for Glenn, who studied the article three times before being quizzed by his father about the design.’ It seems we should surmise that young Glenn’s destiny as a great architect was predetermined by the duel influences of Thoreau, and his own Thoreau-like father. The irony of all this is lost on the text’s author, who continues to breezily interleave the story of Murcutt and family’s life in ‘the wilds of New Guinea’, with a parallel narrative of Glenn’s youthful development and genealogy as an architect. [14] 

The author’s refusal to die

And it is here that the work of Roland Barthes becomes particularly relevant. In ‘The Death of the Author’, Barthes argues that meaning in pre-modern literature and criticism is entirely predicated on the presence and intentions of the author in and for the text.

‘The Author, when believed in, is always conceived of as the past of his own book: book and author stand automatically on a single line divided into a before and an after. The Author is thought to nourish the book, which is to say that he exists before it, thinks, suffers, lives for it, is in the same relation of antecedence to his work as a father to his child.’ [15]

Barthes’ words are clearly relevant to Murcutt’s self-narrative, but even more so when this is seen as a genealogy, which stretches from the ‘after’ of the current building, to the ‘before’ of Murcutt himself, his childhood, his father, and so on back to Thoreau. This chain of influence betrays a fascination with origins, with precedence, with patrimony, which are all fundamentally linked to concepts of authorship. Likewise, criticism of Murcutt’s work has concentrated heavily on his persona and intentions in the explanation of the work. Barthes writes that ‘[t]o give a text an Author is to impose a limit on that text, to furnish it with a final signified, to close the writing. Such a conception suits criticism very well, the latter then allotting itself the important task of discovering the Author … beneath the work: when the Author has been found, the text is ‘explained’—victory to the critic.’ 

As it has been presented in the Pritzker documentation, Murcutt’s work represents the confluence or fulfilment of two equally powerful myths: of the lone creative genius artist, and the pristine arcadian paradise. His work seems to offer the longed-for reconciliation between nature and culture, landscape and architecture, aboriginal and European society. Barthes’ essay finishes with the famous admonition that ‘to give writing its future, it is necessary to overthrow the myth: the birth of the reader must be at the cost of the death of the Author.’ [16] But what if, as the other question underlying this research project proposed, the author in architecture never died? And why was that? Perhaps, by way of an answer, it is more useful to turn this question on its head, and ask why is it that in architecture the reader has refused to be born. And the answer to this must be that popular audiences for architecture, as manifest in documentary, narrative film, and particularly awards like the Pritzker prize, insist on perpetuating, reconstructing, and keeping alive the mythical stereotype of the architectural author.

(first published in «Les Cahiers du CICLaS»vol. 7, May 2006, pp. 45-57)

[1] I would like to thank the anonymous referees of this paper for their insightful and helpful comments.

[2] See http://www.abc.net.au/arts/architecture/about.htm

[3] Nancy Levison, ‘Tall Buildings, Tall Tales: On Architects in the Movies’, in Mark Lamster (ed), Architecture and Film, Princeton Architecture Press, New York, 2000, p. 27.

[4] Kim Dovey, ‘Myth and Media: Constructing Aboriginal Architecture,’ The Journal of Architectural Education, vol. 54, no. 1, p. 2.

[5] Ibid, p. 5.

[6] Richard Weller, ‘The National Museum, Canberra, and its Garden of Australian Dreams,’ Studies in the History of Gardens and Designed Landscapes, vol. 21, no. 1, Jan/March 2001, p. 66.

[7] Leo Marx, The Machine in the Garden: Technology and the Pastoral Ideal in America, Oxford University Press, London, Oxford, and New York, 1964.

[8] Pritzker website http://www.pritzkerprize.com/2002annc.htm#about

[9] http://www.pritzkerprize.com/2002annc.htm#about

[10] http://www.pritzkerprize.com/2002annc.htm#about

[11] Harry Seidler died on Thursday 9th March 2006, during the preparation of this manuscript.

[12] http://www.pritzkerprize.com/2002annc.htm#about

[13] http://www.pritzkerprize.com/2002annc.htm#about

[14] One breathtakingly colonialist passage ascribes the paternal house with the power to save the family from marauding savages; ‘Glenn remembers their home in New Guinea, built by his father, with a roof of light weight corrugated iron, and perched on stilts a full story above ground to keep water and reptiles out, as well as affording some protection from quite dangerous local people, who at least once were discouraged from attacking when his mother fired a rifle over their heads.’

[15] Roland Barthes, ‘The Death of the Author’, in Image, Music, Text. Translated by Stephen Heath, Fontana Paperbacks, London, 1977.

 [16] Roland Barthes, ‘The Death of the Author’, in Image, Music, Text. Translated by Stephen Heath, Fontana Paperbacks, London, 1977, p. 148. 

6 January 2011