Renowned Australian architect and RMIT Architecture Adjunct Professor, the late Peter Corrigan (1941-2016), left his mark on Melbourne in myriad ways, including RMIT’s Building 8 in Swanston Street. His wife Maggie and son Matthew share their memories, following the family’s gift of documents and books to the RMIT Design Archives.
“Peter amassed an enormous collection of books and papers over the years, he was interested in so many areas of endeavour, not just the realm of architecture. It was his passion for theatre, design, art, sport, and in particular Melbourne, that brought an informed integrity to his work.
When Peter won a scholarship to Yale in the late ‘60s, he returned to Australia, really energised about a new way of teaching architecture which challenged the purely academic approach we had here. The Design Studios at RMIT, which he ran for 30 years, were really his thing. In fact, he essentially ran the Studios from his hospital bed in the last months. He was dedicated to the idea that RMIT students needed to have more opportunities to understand new expressions in design.
Building 8 [designed by Peter, and winner of the RAIA Gold Medal Award for Urban Design in 2003, and other awards] really provides RMIT with a tangible identity in Melbourne. It demonstrates the considered determination that was a great part of the way Peter worked, he wasn’t about chance, he was all about systematic planning and that came from a great sense of knowing who he was.
Architecture brings in a lot of threads, it’s a lot about psychology, observation and osmosis, in a way you have to be a walking antenna. Peter did this very well and that’s what I continue to love about being an architect.
He was passionate about RMIT and Melbourne, which is why he gifted a significant amount of his personal documents and books to RMIT in a bequest that will form The Peter Corrigan Collection at RMIT’s Design Archives.”