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UON Architecture Student Revels in Experience of Glenn Murcutt Masterclass

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Derrick Chu (left) pictured with Richard Leplastrier (right)
Derrick Chu (left) pictured with Richard Leplastrier (right)

Master of Architecture student, Derrick Chu, was able to participate in this intensive two-week design studio workshop.

The second week of July saw the 2017 Glenn Murcutt International Masterclass come to the Eco Outdoor Waterloo showroom, which was transformed into a hub of architectural creativity.

Participants from around the world descended on Sydney to be part of the intensive two-week design studio workshop that has become a major annual event on the global architecture calendar.

Eco Outdoor ran a competition among universities in NSW, with architecture student Derrick Chu (pictured, left with Richard Leplastrier) winning and being invited to observe the Masterclass, viewing at close quarters the calibre of participants’ work, as well as attending a presentation by one of the Masterclass tutors.

One of the highlights of the week, from Eco Outdoor’s point of view, was the attendance of what they hope will be an architecture star of the future in the form of University of Newcastle student Derrick, who is currently undertaking a Master of Architecture.

Derrick revealed his appreciation for one of the Ozetecture Masterclass tutors when asked about which individual within the community he follows for their architectural ability.

“I am an admirer of all architects, one in particular is Richard Leplastrier. His philosophy is embedded within his architecture, the way he designs in respect to the land, showcasing a new way of living,” said Derrick.

Derrick was able to witness the Masterclass participants workshop, in groups, a design project brief, a project that is about sensitivity to the site and landscape.

Having spent the first week at ‘Riversdale’, the Arthur and Yvonne Boyd Education Centre on the beautiful Shoalhaven River south of Sydney, the Masterclass participants accumulated an appreciation of the landscape and its associated challenges.

This included a guided tour of the Boyd Education Centre building by Glenn Murcutt as well as a traditional welcome by Aboriginal Elder Uncle Max Dulumunmun Harrison. The group walked the landscape with Uncle Max and Glenn and viewed the context of the new design project.

The proposal for the project was to create, adjacent to the ‘Riversdale’ Education Centre, A Boyd Archive, a place, or places, to store the works of Arthur Boyd held by the Bundanon Trust, to allow for restoration and curation of the collection and to provide a space to hang and display a small selection of Boyd’s works.

It was also proposed to provide modest accommodation for up to eight visiting scholars, lecturers or teachers.

Masterclass tutors: (L-R) Brit Andresen, Peter Stutchbury, Glenn Murcutt, Lindsay Johnston, Richard Leplastrier.
Masterclass tutors: (L-R) Brit Andresen, Peter Stutchbury, Glenn Murcutt, Lindsay Johnston, Richard Leplastrier.

Speaking about his thoughts on the challenges faced by architects for such projects, Derrick said: “I believe that we have only just begun to recognise the attributes of sustainable building, having said that, there are many other avenues of sustainability yet to be explored, the most important innovation in sustainability thus far is the solar panel.”

The Monday evening of the Masterclass Derrick saw renowned Irish architect and Masterclass tutor Lindsay Johnston, who has previously been Head of School and Dean of the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Design at the University of Newcastle, give a lecture on some of his best-known works.

Participants listened intently as Lindsay spoke of the considerations around materiality, lighting, heat and water storage for the Four Horizons Lodges in the Watagan Mountains National Park, New South Wales, amongst others in a talk that captivated the room.

And as to the global destination that Derrick appreciates most for architecture, he revealed: “Copenhagen is at the forefront of design innovation, not only on a micro level but also an urban scale. It is widely considered to be one of the most liveable cities in the world, where the bicycle is favoured over the motor vehicle.”

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