Celebrated Australian architect Glenn Murcutt has been awarded with the Praemium Imperiale, a global arts prize awarded each year by the Japanese Art Association. 

First awarded in 1988, the Praemium Imperiale seeks to celebrate the outstanding contributions to the development, promotion and progress of the arts across the world. Murcutt was presented with the prize in a special ceremony at the Residence of the Japanese Ambassador to Australia, Shingo Yamagami, in Canberra earlier this week.

The honour adds to an already impressive list of domestic and international honours for Murcutt, including being awarded the 2009 American Institute of Architects Gold Medal, the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2002, the 2001 Thomas Jefferson Medal for Architecture in America, the 1999 Green Pin International Award for Architecture and Ecology from the Academy of Architects, Demark, the Finnish Alvar Aalto Medal and the Royal Australian Institute of Architects' Gold Medal in 1992.

“Glenn Murcutt is an architect ahead of his time – an architect who has spent his career creating modest, environmentally responsible buildings rooted in the climate and tradition of his native Australia,” the Praemium Imperiale citation reads.

Murcutt is also the first Australian to be awarded the Praemium Imperiale. The Australian Institute of Architects’ (AIA) National President, Tony Giannone, says he extends his congratulations to Murcutt on behalf of the Institute.

“Glenn Murcutt is a giant of the architectural profession whose contribution is truly immense,” he says.

“Glenn is Australia’s most awarded architect and the conferring of the Praemium Imperiale is a tremendous honour.

“In receiving this prize Glenn is again making history, becoming the first Australian to be named a Praemium Imperiale Laureate of architecture.

“On behalf of the Institute, I offer Glenn our warmest congratulations on this richly-deserved recognition and extend our deep gratitude to the Japanese Government for celebrating his work in this most prestigious way.”

The ceremony was attended by the AIA’s National President-Elect Shannon Battisson, ACT Chapter President Jane Cassidy and ACT Executive Director Liz Lang.