Architect Ken Woolley awarded honorary doctorate
3 May 2010
The University of Sydney has awarded architect Ken Woolley an honorary doctorate.
Since graduating with First Class Honours in Architecture in 1955, where he also received the University Medal, Woolley has had an influential career spanning six decades, during which he has become acknowledged as a leader in Australian architecture.
After a successful career in the NSW Government Architect's office, his project housing work for Pettit and Sevitt during the 1960s contributed to the development of vernacular building and the regional romantic movement known as the "Sydney School".
Woolley's work has spanned residential, commercial and public buildings and includes iconic structures such as the Park Hyatt Hotel, Circular Quay, ABC Radio Centre in Ultimo, the RAS Exhibition Halls and Olympic Hockey Stadium at Homebush.
He has received numerous Royal Australian Institute of Architects awards, including the Gold Medal in 1993, and was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 1988.
The doctorate was awarded at a graduation ceremony in the Great Hall on Friday 16 April.
He delivered a speech in which he ruminated on the nature of art and architecture, and credited the University with changing his life.
"This University transformed my life completely. I was so entranced by finding something I could do - in a place that embodied it with the buildings of Blackett, Vernon and Wilkinson - that it is a wonder I ever left. But what might have been expected of me as an academic career, was thwarted by my willing seduction into the life of designing and building things myself - an ambition that is rarely gratified with such early effect."
Woolley received his Doctor of Science in Architecture (honouris causa) from Deputy Chancellor Alan Cameron AM after a brief presentation by Vice-Chancellor Dr Michael Spence. He later delivered the graduation ceremony's Occasional Address. With an audience including over 150 Master of Architecture and Bachelor of Design in Architecture graduates, he spoke of how architecture is distinguished from other art forms by its performance of purpose.
Woolley's address was based on one of the chapters of his latest book Reviewing the Performance which was launched on Wednesday 21 April, at Tusculum by Watermark Press.
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