The Pritzker Architecture Prize – the formal ceremony for what is known throughout the world as architecture’s highest honour is awarded annually to honour a living architect or architects. The award was founded by Jay A. Pritzker and his wife Cindy in 1979, and is funded by the Pritzker family and sponsored by the Hyatt Foundation.
Let’s take a look at the last 10 years Pritzker Prize Laureates and their exceptional works.
1. Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, 2010 Pritzker Laureates
The partners of the architecture firm SANNA, Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa are the recipients of the 2010 Pritzker Architecture Prize. It marked the third time that two architects had been awarded in the same year. While the architect duo’s most of the work is in Japan, they have designed projects in Germany, England, Spain, France, Netherlands and the United States, under their combined name SANAA. The Glass Pavilion for the Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio is the firm’s first project in the U.S., built in 2004. The O-Museum in Nagano, Japan, The 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan, The De Kunstlinie Theater and Cultural Center, Almere, Netherlands, and more recently the Rolex Learning Center, Lausanne, Switzerland are some of the major projects of SANAA.
2. Eduardo Souto de Moura, 2011 Pritzker Laureate
Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura is the recipient of the 2011 Pritzker Prize. The architect in his earlier years worked at Alvaro Siza’s office, another Pritzker recipient (1992), and later opened his firm in 1980. Since then he has completed numerous buildings, most of them in Spain, Italy, Germany, United Kingdom and Switzerland. His iconic projects include the Braga Stadium 2004 and the Casa das Histórias Paula Rego. From Lord Palumbo, Chairman of the jury, the architect’s work is modern and monumental but also carries echoes of traditions.
3. Wang Shu, 2012 Pritzker Laureate
Wang Shu is the first Chinese architect who won the 2012 Pritzker Prize. Wang Shu along with his wife founded their own practice Amateur Architects in 1997. Wang’s major projects are all in China which includes three College Campuses and the Ningbo History Museum. The architect believes that modern and tradition can work together, and this belief reflects in all his work. He produces architecture that is deeply rooted in its context and yet universal.
4. Toyo Ito, 2013 Pritzker Laureate
The 2013 Pritzker Prize was awarded to Japanese architect Toyo Ito. Throughout his career, for more than 40 years, Toyo Ito has created outstanding architecture, each time seeking to extend the boundaries of architecture. His building seems effortlessly in balance, which is the result of his deep knowledge of his craft and his ability to discover the opportunities that lie in each project and each site. Among his work, Sendai Mediatheque, TOD’S Omotesando building in Tokyo and Tama Art University Library in Tokyo are particularly inspiring.
5. Shigeru Ban, 2014 Pritzker Laureate
Architect Shigeru Ban is the recipient of 2014 Architecture Pritzker Prize. He is the second Japanese architect to receive the prestigious architecture prize, following on from last year’s winner Toyo, Ito. The work approach of Shigeru Ban is as innovative as it is humanitarian. For more than 20 years of his architecture career, he has been responding with creative and high-quality design to those who have suffered tremendous loss and destruction caused by devastating natural disasters. He is highly respected for his experimental and creative use of unconventional materials, particularly paper and cardboard in disaster relief works. His best-known projects include Cardboard Cathedral in New Zealand and the Centre Pompidou Metz in France.
6. Frei Otto, 2015 Pritzker Laureate
Architect Frei Otto was named as the recipient of the 2015 Pritzker Prize, though he sadly passed away before the award ceremony, at the age of 89, in his native Germany. Throughout his life, Frei Otto created fresh, imaginative, unusual spaces and constructions. His architecture drive was to design new types of building to help those in need, especially following natural disasters. The architect, visionary, ecologist, pioneer of lightweight materials is best known for the 1972 Munich Olympic Stadium.
7. Alejandro Aravena, 2016 Pritzker Laureate
Alejandro Aravena was declared as the 2016 Pritzker Prize Laureate. It was the first time a Chilean architect received the prestigious award. The architect is best known for his humanitarian designs rather than statement architecture. He has been praised for his dedication and commitment to tackling the global housing crisis and fighting for a better urban environment. Aravena with his architecture group, Elemental, has delivered work of architectural excellence in private, public and educational commissions. Among his other notable projects, the ‘half a house’ Quinta Monroy development in Iquique, Chile, is best-known.
8. Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta, 2017 Pritzker Laureates
The Spanish architect trio is the recipient of the 2017 Pritzker Prize. The architects established their office, RCR, and since they have been working closely together for more than 30 years. The trio believes that architecture and its surroundings are intimately intertwined – this understanding reflects in all their built work, which has a strong sense of place and is firmly connected with the surrounding landscape. They create buildings that are both local and universal at the same time.
9. Balkrishna Vithaldas Doshi, 2018 Pritzker Laureate
Balkrishna Vithaldas Doshi is the recipient of the 2018 Pritzker Prize. Doshi is the first Indian architect to receive this prestigious honour. Doshi worked with two master architects of the 20th century – Le Corbusier and Louis I Kahn. His early works were influenced by these two modern masters, but in his further works, he took the language of his buildings beyond the early models. He developed a vocabulary in harmony with the history, culture, and local traditions of his home country India. Throughout his long career, Doshi has worked in more than hundreds of projects with a deep sense of responsibility and a desire to contribute to his country and its people. Some of his key projects include the Ahmedabad School of Architecture, his studio Vastu-Shilpa, and the Amdavad ni Gufa gallery.
10. Arata Isozaki, 2019 Pritzker Prize Laureate
Arata Isozaki is the 2019 Pritzker Prize Laureate. He is regarded as Japan’s most significant postwar architect. His first experience of architecture was the void of architecture that evolved from the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima and there he began to consider how people might rebuild their homes and cities. He founded Arata Isozaki & Associates in 1963 and designed over 100 projects over the past three decades. His notable works include the Oita Prefectural Library, Qatar National Convention Center, and D38 Office
11. Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, 2020 Pritzker Prize Laureate
Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, partners and co-founder of Grafton Architects, are the recipients of the 2020 Pritzker Prize. The duo is known for their robust creations made in concrete and stone. Since their practice in 1978, the architects have created a number of residential, commercial and civic buildings. However, they are particularly known for their educational buildings.