The Pritzker Award

The Pritzker Award

The purpose of the Pritzker award is to honor a living architect/architects, who has/have done consistent and significant contribution to the built environment and humanity through the art of architecture with talent, dedication, and vision. The international prize is awarded every year and is considered as “architecture’s Nobel” and “the profession’s highest honor.” It was established by the Pritzker family members- Jay A. Pritzker, (1922-1999) and his wife Cindy Pritzker in 1979 as they believed that a meaningful prize would encourage and stimulate not only a greater public awareness of buildings but also would inspire greater creativity within the architectural profession.

Many of the procedures and rewards of the Pritzker Prize are modeled after the Nobel Prize. Laureates of the Pritzker Architecture Prize receive a $100,000 grant, a formal citation certificate, and since 1987, a bronze medallion. Prior to that year, a limited edition Henry Moore sculpture was presented to each Laureate.

The first winner of this prestigious award was Architect Philip Johnson, who was honored for his 50 years of imagination and vitality embodied in a myriad of museums, theaters, libraries, houses, gardens and corporate structures. In 1988, Gordon Bunshaft and Oscar Niemeyer were both separately honored with the award. In 2004  Zaha Hadid became the first female to win this prize. Ryue Nishizawa became the youngest winner in 2010 at age 44. In 2001, Partners in architecture Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, and in 2010, Kazuyo Sejima and Nishizawa have shared the award. The 2017 winners, architects Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem, and Ramón Vilalta were the first group of three to share the prize. This year in 2019, it was Arata Isozaki from Japan who won the prize.

Source: The Pritzker Architecture Prize

Regarded as one of the most influential post-war architects, Isozaki was born in Oita city, Japan in 1931, prior to the onset of World War II. He was 14 years old when Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed, which had a lasting impression on the way he perceives the built environment. He builds with the theory that while buildings are transitory, they should please the senses of the users presently passing through and around them.

Isozaki did his graduation from the University of Tokyo, followed by a doctoral program in architecture from the same university, worked under Architect Kenzo Tange until the establishment of his own firm in 1963. The Pritzker jury describes him as “a versatile, influential, and truly international architect”.The RIBA Gold Medal (1986) winner Isozaki was praised by the Pritzker jury for his forward-thinking approach, deep commitment to the ‘art of space,’ and transnational methodology. A career spanning more than six decades, the architect’s portfolio features over a hundred buildings spread over Asia, Europe, North America, the Middle East, and Australia.

Below are few of his notable works that demonstrate his contribution to the built environment :

  • ōita prefectural library, ōita, Japan (1962-66)
  • Kitakyushu central library, Fukuoka, Japan (1973-74)
  • The museum of contemporary art, Los Angeles, USA (1981-86)
  • art tower Mito, Ibaraki, Japan (1986-90)
  • Domus: la casa del hombre, a coruña, Spain (1993-1995)
  • Ceramic park mino, Gifu, Japan (1996-2002)
  • Allianz Tower, Milan, Italy (2003-2014) — designed with Andrea Maffei
  • Qatar national convention center, Doha, Qatar (2004-2011)
  • Shanghai symphony hall, Shanghai, China (2008-2014)
  • Lucerne festival ark nova — designed with Anish Kapoor Miyagi (2011-2013, 2014), Fukushima (2015), Tokyo, Japan (2017)


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