On Tuesday night, seven Pritzker Prize laureates—Richard Rogers, Glenn Murcutt, Christian de Portzamparc, Wang Shu, Renzo Piano, Jean Nouvel, and the newest among the group, Alejandro Aravena—gathered at the United Nations headquarters in New York to discuss what they thought to be the greatest challenge facing the built environment.
Australian architect and 2002 laureate Glenn Murcutt chose not to discuss sustainability, which he has spent his career championing, and instead delivered a rousing, emotional speech about a project that has occupied his mind for the better part of a decade: the Newport Mosque. The mosque has been the source of much controversy in Victoria, Australia, where it will be built. "The real issue," said Murcutt about the public discontent surrounding the project, "is fear"—fear of the unfamiliar that underpins social and religious prejudice around the world.
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