“If there is a true and overwhelming successor practice, to that personified in Glenn Murcutt’s ethos of ‘touching the earth lightly’, then it is surely the prolific career of husband and wife team, Lindsay and Kerry Clare.”
2009 Ware Professor of Architecture, Columbia University, New York
‘Ten Shades of Green’, the new architecture show at the Urban Centres should not just be seen. It should be enacted into law. . .the show sets out to demonstrate that environmental priorities are not antagonistic to the highest aesthetic standards. . .The integrity of architecture is the most valuable lesson ‘ten Shades of Green’ has to teach. . .The Cotton Tree Pilot Housing Complex in Queensland, Australia is the most romantically utopian project on view. The site plan organises the units in a series of transitions from public to semi-public to private space.
Balconies, windows and a communal garden extend the transitions vertically. The most utopian aspect of this project is its atmosphere of social and spatial informality. It picks up on the direction in which American architects were headed in the post war years, when California’s Case Study Houses, designed by Charles and Ray Eames and others wove spare, modern design into the West Coast landscape. . .Why should Australians run away with a style of living that began with Frank Lloyd Wright?
‘Art/Architecture – Good Buildings and Good for You’, New York Times, 2000
“We have two aspects of practice nowadays. One is involved very much in the presentation of buildings, buildings that are there for publicity, to which the architect unfortunately becomes a servant in a way. A building becomes a piece of merchandise, and therefore the eventual form of it becomes a saleable form. Then there are practitioners that, in the famous phrase of Le Corbusier, really dedicate themselves to the “patient search”. There are not so many of them but they are there; starting from Glenn Murcutt, and others such as Lindsay and Kerry Clare. . .”
Interview, Architectural Review Australia, No 118, Summer 2010/2011, p 29
“. . .Lindsay and Kerry Clare pragmatically re-interpret the traditional architecture of their region, while maintaining real links with modernism. They work as much in response to Queensland’s lifestyle and tropical climate, as with the particulars of each site. . .”
‘Dictionnaire de l’Architecture du XXe Siecle’ Institut Francais d’Architecture, p. 203, 1996
“…aesthetic and functional imperatives operate symbiotically throughout the Clares’ work. Simplicity and clarity are their design hallmarks. Their method is pragmatic, and their objective is economy of effort, materials, resources. But this is the economy of perfectionists: everything to be touched required careful detailing. . .But it is quite clear that the Clares are practising a type of modernism which is very sophisticated. . .Also strongly evident in their work are ideas about a natural way of building and using natural techniques for dealing with climate, which also serves to draw the building user into a direct engagement with the place. This is an architecture of critical regionalism.”
Haig Beck + Jackie Cooper
UME 4, March 1997
“. . .The work of the practice is characterised by a concern for place making in response to the fundamental issues of the occupation of site and space. The fit to the land and the relationship with the sun, view and breeze are thoughtfully considered and exploited to enhance the qualities of each scheme. A respect for the lessons of Queensland’s traditional architecture is evident in most projects in the layering of the condition, the adoption of straightforward techniques and materials and in the employment of disciplined planning strategies.”
Architectural Review London, 1990
“. . .I think the Clares are far more complex and important than simply bringing together a feeling for topography and climate. They have. . .continued to explore the fundamentals of site, of topography, of operational order and tectonics. One realises that this is important architecture. . .Architecture, like poetry, is repetitive. “The true astonishment” said Pavese “comes from recognition, not novelty”. The architecture we admire somehow brings together what we have felt previously. Architecture deals with things that are revealed to us in infancy and play, in nature and in older in buildings. We are always making the same film but the language of the film is incessantly renewed. It is these important qualities that are embodied in the architecture of Clare Design.”
Professor of Architecture, University of Sydney, 1996
“All too often sustainability and environmental design is an exercise in post rationalisation to support the big idea at the heart of a scheme. Kerry and Lindsay have always impressed with an incredibly robust intuitive appreciation of climate design but also an implicit understanding of where they will benefit from expert advice. The result is a sense of true collaboration.”
Founding Chairman, World Green Building Council, 2002-2007, Life Fellow of the GBCA, Australian Prime Minister’s Environmentalist of the Year Award 2004
“. . .In the Antipodes, Clare Design respond to landscape, climate and culture with an architecture rigorously developed from both Australian and international traditions”
‘Pacific Edge Contemporary Architecture on the Pacific Rim’, London, 1998
‘In the Government Architects’ Office, Lindsay and Kerry Clare fill the role of Design Directors. The Clares developed an award-winning architectural practice. . .becoming internationally celebrated for the clarity and rigour of their architecture. They acknowledge a debt to Alvar Aalto, the Finnish master who developed a regional architectural expression using modernist precepts. The Clares too are concerned to produce architecture that speaks of its place and time, and enhances people’s awareness and experience of using buildings.’
NSW Government Architect ‘Shaping Sydney’ Sydney, 1999
‘Their work. . .draws inspiration from a wider modern tradition – notably that stemming from Scandinavia – and reflects the late twentieth-century concern with issues of environment and ecology.’
‘Architecture Reborn The Conversion and Reconstruction of Old Buildings’, London, 1999
‘The architectural language used by the team of architects takes advantage of the extensive aesthetic resources that have been used traditionally in the coastal region in which the project is located.’
‘Residential Complexes’, Barcelona, 1999
“Half of the worlds energy consumed worldwide is used to construct and operate buildings. . .This is one sense in which we can speak of ethics in architecture namely, the priorities which architects set in their work. Another sense is the one implied in the Venice Biennale slogan, that the aesthetic quality of architecture should derive from principles rather than fashion or meretriciousness. A final sense in which we can speak of ethics in architecture is to do with the degree to which architects respect the needs of the people who will use their buildings.
The work of Kerry and Lindsay Clare is ethical in all three senses – perhaps even in a fourth sense, because they recently moved their practice to Sydney to work for two years as Design Directors with the New South Wales Government Architect – and what their work demonstrates is that it is possible to be ethical and still design buildings which are affordable, comfortable and beautiful”.
Monument 38, Sydney, 2000
“Crucially, the Clares also identify a strong drive in Finnish architecture for the elimination of non-essentials and the appreciation of fundamental values. As a consequence, theirs is not a regional architecture but an example of what Kenneth Frampton has popularised as critical regionalism. To isolate fundamental values is to avoid the sentimentalism and vulgarity which results from the imitation of the surface appearance of vernacular forms”.
Monument 38, Sydney, 2000
“The Clares’ work illustrates elegance, order and rational space. What is more, it has that very regional quality of architects who really understand their place of work instead of what arrives via boardroom hustling and slippery salesmanship”.
Local Heroes – Architects of Australia’s Sunshine Coast, Sydney, 2000
“Lindsay and Kerry Clare’s buildings sit quietly and calmly on the landscape. Much has been written of the Clare’s work, the calm manipulation of light, the clarity of the plan and the Aalto lineage. It is this peaceful quality to the Clare’s work that differentiates it from the current somewhat frenetic development of sticks and slats architecture of Queensland. It is subtle, sophisticated and timeless”.
Local Heroes – Architects of Australia’s Sunshine Coast, Sydney, 2000
“Essentially, the approach is non-prescriptive There is no style – any more than there is an established matrix or paradigm. Instead, each case receives the creative response it demands, driven by a set of guiding principles rather than any prescriptions. These principles include a concern for siting orientation, respect for genius loci, comfort before aesthetics (which does not imply a lack of aesthetic concern), sustainability and simplicity. In short, this is an architecture which has the humility to put human needs ahead of it’s own ego. What the Clares manage to demonstrate is that one can do this without wearing sackcloth and ashes and create buildings which combine beauty, functionality and humanity”.
‘Monument 38’ Sydney, 2000
“GoMA embodies the idea that architecture plays an integral role in the healthy
functioning of a democracy. In GoMA, we see the notion that physical spaces can shape and influence social structure take on contemporary, and peculiarly antipodean, expression.”
Queensland Premier, 2010
“It is clear to me that Kerry sees the built environment, and the architecture that shapes it, as deeply interconnected with our climate and landscape. This is a rare skill to bring to the process of city building..”
Sydney Lord Mayor, 2010
“Speaking with Lindsay and Kerry recently, after their 10 years in a big commercial practice, their concerns, attitudes and philosophy seemed to me to be unchanged. There is still the commitment to quality architecture, they still eschew fashion and trends, and still hold a passionate belief that architecture is for people and that the creation of space is made not just from the careful crafting of material (at which they excel), but also the elegant resolution of function and environmental conditioning. If there is a defining ethos to their work it is this consistency of intent.”
NSW Government Architect, 2010
“Lindsay and Kerry Clare embody a certain seriousness of endeavour, a gravitas, and a commitment to the pursuit of quality and appropriateness in architecture that makes them particularly deserving winners of the Australian Institute of Architects’ Gold Medal.”
Victorian Government Architect, 2010
“This has enabled them to contribute architecture of significant scale and importance to Queensland not only through the magnificent Gallery of Modern Art but also the Chancellery at the University of Sunshine Coast. . .with an architecture that is welcoming yet strong, well scaled and handsome yet lacking pretence. It is an architecture that is, I believe, underpinned by the many lessons from domestic design and construction techniques and the many resolutions of intersections both physical and philosophic.
Queensland Government Architect, 2010
“Stasis does not explain why the Clares’ work attains timelessness; there are other factors in play here. The architects eschew the popular architectural gestures that unerringly date contemporary buildings. Their approach to architecture (which generally they do not articulate) is rationally guided by a set of commonsense rules of thumb: buildings must respond to the climate and topography of a place; legibility is desirable and best achieved with simple forms sheltering, ideally, under a big roof; and the finishes of materials, the manner of their fixings and the junctions between them should express their inherent nature. For more than 30 years, the Clares have applied this approach. The rules have restricted the interplay between topos, typos and tectonics to the extent that all their buildings achieve an aesthetic consistency and timeless modernism.”
Haig Beck + Jackie Cooper
Timeless Modernism, 2009
“Akin to Murcutt and other Aussie architects, such as Gabriel Poole with whom they both worked before starting their own firm in 1979, their buildings are idiosyncratic yet strongly rooted in their sites. Their buildings harness the qualities of their locales (sun, climate, views, culture, etc) to become natural fits and exude the sustainability label. Formally, their buildings have a looseness that is refreshing and is able to be maintained regardless of typology and size.”
A Daily Dose of Architecture, January 2016
“Beck and Cooper call attention to the freshness of each work regardless of its position in the chronology of practice, a resistance to the vagaries of style and fashion and the sustained commitment to a set of key principles”
Architecture Australia, May-June 2016
“In Docklands, the Clares’ building takes on a role that a municipal library took on in the suburbs in the 1950s but with extra functions: an unassuming identity that will become an intrinsic component in building community. A simple idea perhaps, but it is a strategy that lifts this project to a level of significance to which others aspire but do not reach. And fundamentally this is because of the rigour of its responsible making and the complete satisfaction of its brief.”