Richard Leplastrier recognised for commitment to sustainability

Oct 26, 2009
  • Article by Online Editor
  • Photography by Anthony Browell

Australian architect Richard Leplastrier has been awarded the Dryer Foundation Prize of Honour 2009 for his commitment to sustainability.

Lene Tranberg, Dryer Foundation board member, commended Leplastrier’s architecture, saying that it “reveals a profound understanding of sustainability in the deepest sense of the term.

“Through a philosophy that is best summarised in the statement, ‘Let’s cultivate less!’, he has developed a truly original and personal approach to living and creating with dignity and respect.”

Leplastrier is renowned for using local resources, and favours using recycled and veneer wood. His simple and elegant buildings reflect traditional Japanese construction techniques.

Each year, the Dryer Foundation, based in Denmark, awards a lawyer and an architect who has distinguished themselves through an especially valuable contribution within their field. This year, the Foundation chose to recognise those who are passionate about environmental and climate sustainability. The prizes have been awarded annually since 1982.

Leplastrier has previously won the Gold Medal from the Australian Institute of Architects, awarded in 1999. He also won the International Spirit of Nature Wood Architecture Award in Finland in 2004 – an honour that has also been bestowed on Renzo Piano, Kengo Kuma and Peter Zumthor.

Leplastrier studied architecture at the University of Sydney, and worked alongside Jorn Utzon on plans for a house at Bayview, NSW. He then spent 18 months working in Kyoto at Kenzo Tange’s studio, while studying traditional Japanese architecture with Professor Masuda Tomoya. He returned to Australia and established his own practice in 1970. He has been teaching architecture for many years, and works regularly with Glenn Murcutt.

Leplastrier was awarded alongside Danish lawyer Birgitte Refn Wenzel, who was recognised for her expertise on environmental law issues.

*1* Richard Leplastrier. Photograph by Anthony Browell
*2* Prize of Honour 2009 winners, Richard Leplastrier and Birgitte Refn Wenzel. Photograp by Carsten Snejbjerg

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