University of Calgary

Portfolio wins rare chance

July 2, 2009

EVDS student to learn from Australia’s best known architect

Jordan Allen is off to Australia to learn from one of the world's best architects.
Jordan Allen is off to Australia to learn from one of the world's best architects.
EVDS student Jordan Allen will soon be realizing a lifetime dream. Allen, a third-year architecture student, has been admitted to the 2009 Glenn Murcutt Master Class, a very limited and exclusive two-week international residential program hosted in Australia from July 12-26.

“This is an amazing learning and networking opportunity that most students don’t get,” said Allen. “I am very thrilled I was one of the very few people accepted into the program.”

The Master Class, led by Australia’s best known architect, Glenn Murcutt, is limited to only 30 participants. Applications are normally accessed on credentials and merit and typically only accredited architects with many years of experience are accepted. Allen is a rare exception; he is the only student and only Canadian who will be joining the select group formed by professionals from 24 countries.

“I was admitted on the basis of portfolio,” said Allen. “This is a huge accomplishment. It is a rare opportunity for an architect let alone a student.”

The intensive two-week design studio program is personally and closely coordinated by Murcutt, whom Allen considers to be the greatest architect of the 21st century. Murcutt was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize for 2002 (the Nobel Prize of Architecture), has been a visiting professor at Yale and numerous other universities and has received several other awards such as the Gold Medal of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects, the Alvar Aalto Medal (Finland), 2001 Thomas Jefferson Medal (United States), the Green Pin International Award for Architecture and Ecology (Denmark) and the 2001 Asia Pacific Culture and Architecture Design Award.

“It is like being taught business by Bill Gates,” said Allen. “Learning from an architect of that calibre, through structure, conversation and criticism, will allow me to enhance my conceptual and pragmatic approaches to architecture.”

The Master Class involves a design project undertaken in groups. The first week of the program is held at Riversdale, the Arthur and Yvonne Boyd Education Centre on the Shoalhaven River south of Sydney. The second week will be held at the University of Sydney School of Architecture. Glenn personally leads the program, stays at Riversdale with the participants and tutors all groups.

Murcutt is known world-wide for his sustainable, regionalist and modern approach to architecture. According to Allen, sustainable architecture is an empty and baseless term and while several people want to focus on it, very few have the opportunity and instruction to do so.

“This extraordinary opportunity will allow me to experience real sustainable architecture.”

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