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Aussie Rules Abroad

Murray, Gordon (2008) Aussie Rules Abroad. [Review]

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Abstract

A vivid memory from 10 years ago: a newspaper photograph shows Scotland's late First Minister, Donald Dewar, holding open Deyan Sudjic's Blueprint special on the Australian Embassy in Tokyo. The building was completed in 1992 by Denton Corker Marshall (DCM), which was at that time working with us, Gordon Murray + Alan Dunlop Architects, on the 1998 competition for the new Scottish Parliament. It was this photograph that suggested to us that we might have just made the shortlist. The rest, as they say, is well-documented history -- we lost out to Enric Miralles. For John Denton, Bill Corker and Barrie Marshall, however, the Australian Embassy project was of greater significance than the Scottish Parliament. The embassy is mature architecture that is only vaguely European, not American, but manifestly Australian. Thinness (though not of ideas), lightness, exposed metal structure and surfaces compound the almost transient architecture. The nomadic steel canvas and trademark yellow poles of Monash University School of Art and Design (1999) in Victoria, Australia, epitomise this lightness.