Pritzker Architecture Prize

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Pritzker Architecture Prize
Medal of Pritzker Architecture Prize (front).gif
Medal of the Pritzker Architecture Prize
Awarded for A career of achievement in the art of architecture.
Sponsor Hyatt Foundation
Reward US $100,000
First awarded 1979
Last awarded 2015
Official website

The Pritzker Architecture Prize was founded in 1979 by Jay and Cindy Pritzker to honor outstanding living architects worldwide. Awarded annually as one of the highest accolades of the profession, it is frequently described as the Nobel Prize of architecture.[1][2][3]


The Pritzker Prize is intended "to honor a living architect or architects whose built work demonstrates a combination of those qualities of talent, vision and commitment, which has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture."[4] The laureate should be chosen "irrespective of nationality, race, creed, or ideology."[5]


Founded in 1979 by Jay A. Pritzker and his wife Cindy, the prize is funded by the Pritzker family and sponsored by the Hyatt Foundation.

The Executive Director of the prize, as of 2009, Martha Thorne,[6] solicits nominations from a range of people, including past laureates, academics, critics and others "with expertise and interest in the field of architecture".[5]

Any licensed architect can also make a personal application for the prize before 1 November every year. In 1988 Gordon Bunshaft nominated himself for the award and eventually won it.[7]

The jury, each year consisting of five to nine "experts ... recognized professionals in their own fields of architecture, business, education, publishing, and culture", deliberate early the following year before announcing the winner in spring.[5] As of 2015, the Prize Chair is Lord Palumbo (and has been since 2005); earlier chairs were J. Carter Brown (1979–2002), and Lord Rothschild (2003–04).[8]


The recipients receive US$100,000, a citation certificate, and since 1987, a bronze medallion.[9] The designs on the medal are inspired by the work of architect Louis Sullivan, while the Latin inspired inscription on the reverse of the medallion—firmitas, utilitas, venustas (English: firmness, commodity and delight)—is from Ancient Roman architect Vitruvius.[10] Before 1987, a limited edition Henry Moore sculpture accompanied the monetary prize.[9]


Inaugural winner Philip Johnson was cited "for 50 years of imagination and vitality embodied in a myriad of museums, theaters, libraries, houses, gardens and corporate structures".[11] The 2004 laureate Zaha Hadid was the first female prize winner.[12] Ryue Nishizawa became the youngest winner in 2010 at age 44.[13] The 32nd prize winners, Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, were cited for "architecture that is simultaneously delicate and powerful, precise and fluid, ingenious but not overly or overtly clever".[14] The most recent winner, in 2015, is the German architect Frei Otto, who received word that he would be given the award before his death, and whose name was announced to the public as the winner shortly after his death, the first time in the prize's history that a Laureate died before being able to attend the award ceremony.[15][16]

Sexism Controversy[edit]

In 2013, "Women in Design", a student organization at the Harvard Graduate School of Design started a petition on behalf of Denise Scott Brown to receive joint recognition with her partner, past prize winner Robert Venturi, furthering a debate about sexism in architecture. The petition, according to The New York Times has "reignited long-simmering tensions in the architectural world over whether women have been consistently denied the standing they deserve in a field whose most prestigious award was not given to a woman until 2004, when Zaha Hadid won."[17] Although the petition received international support of several past recipients, the jury said that it cannot revisit the work of past juries, in order to acknowledge the work of Scott Brown and Lu Wenyu, both women and equal partners to their spouses Venturi and Wang Shu, who won in 1991 and 2012 respectively.[18] Scott Brown told CNN that "as a woman, she had felt excluded by the elite of architecture throughout her career," and that "the Pritzker Prize was based on the fallacy that great architecture was the work of a 'single lone male genius' at the expense of collaborative work."[19]

Table of Laureates[edit]

No. Year Laureate Nationality Photo Example work (building period or year completed) Ceremony location Ref.
1 1979 Johnson, PhilipPhilip Johnson United States The inaugural laureate Philip Johnson behind an architectural model
Casa de Cristal P.J.jpg
Glass House (1949) Dumbarton Oaks, Washington DC [20]
2 1980 Barragán, LuisLuis Barragán Mexico
Torres de Satélite - 2.jpg
Torres de Satélite (1957) Dumbarton Oaks, Washington DC [3]
3 1981 Stirling, JamesJames Stirling United Kingdom James Stirling 01.jpg
Staatsgalerie Stuttgart bei Nacht.jpg
Neue Staatsgalerie (1977-84) National Building Museum, Washington DC [21]
4 1982 Roche, KevinKevin Roche United States
(born Ireland)
Knights of Columbus headquarters straightened.jpg
Knights of Columbus Building (1969) Art Institute of Chicago [1][A]
5 1983 Pei, Ieoh MingIeoh Ming Pei United States
(born China)
I.M. Pei.JPG
National Gallery East Wing by Matthew Bisanz.JPG
National Gallery of Art, East Building (1978) Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City [22][B]
6 1984 Meier, RichardRichard Meier United States Richard Meier at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival.jpg
High Museum of Art in Atlanta.jpg
High Museum of Art (1983) National Gallery of Art, Washington DC [1]
7 1985 Hollein, HansHans Hollein Austria Hans Hollein, Architect, Designer.jpg
Mönchengladbach museum mit skulpturengarten cropped.jpg
Abteiberg Museum (1982) The Huntington Library, San Marino, California [1]
8 1986 Böhm, GottfriedGottfried Böhm Germany Böhm-2.jpg
Christi Auferstehung (1968) Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, London [1]
9 1987 Tange, KenzōKenzō Tange Japan Kenzo Tange 1981.jpg
St. Mary's Cathedral Tokyo2.jpg
St. Mary's Cathedral, Tokyo (1964) Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas [23]
10 1988 Bunshaft, GordonGordon Bunshaft
(shared prize)
United States
Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library (1963) Art Institute of Chicago [1][24]
10 1988 Niemeyer, OscarOscar Niemeyer
(shared prize)
Brazil Oscarniemeyer.jpg
Congresso do Brasil.jpg
National Congress of Brazil (1958-60) Art Institute of Chicago [1][24]
11 1989 Gehry, FrankFrank Gehry United States
(born Canada)
Turner 07 FGLecture.JPG
Vitra Design Museum.JPG
Vitra Design Museum (1989) Tōdai-ji, Nara, Japan [22][C]
12 1990 Rossi, AldoAldo Rossi Italy Aldo Rossi 1986-87.jpg
Cimitero San Cataldo crop.jpg
San Cataldo Cemetery, Modena (1971-84) Palazzo Grassi, Venice [25]
13 1991 Venturi, RobertRobert Venturi United States Robert Venturi 2008 Rome.jpg
V Venturi H 720am.JPG
Vanna Venturi House (1964) Palace of Iturbide, Mexico City [26]
14 1992 Siza Vieira, ÁlvaroÁlvaro Siza Vieira Portugal Siza Vieira.jpg
Faculdade Arquitectura 1 (Porto).jpg
Porto School of Architecture (1992) Harold Washington Library, Chicago [27]
15 1993 Maki, FumihikoFumihiko Maki Japan Fumihiko Maki 2010.jpg
Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium 2008.jpg
Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium (1991) Prague Castle [23]
16 1994 de Portzamparc, ChristianChristian de Portzamparc France -
1984-1995 The City of Music, Paris 03.jpg
Cité de la Musique (1984-1995) The Commons, Columbus, Indiana [28]
17 1995 Ando, TadaoTadao Ando Japan Tadao Ando 2004.jpg
Church of Light.JPG
Church of the Light (1989) Palace of Versailles [29]
18 1996 Moneo, RafaelRafael Moneo Spain Rafael Moneo.jpg
San Sebastian Palacio Kursaal.JPG
Kursaal Palace (1990-1999) Getty Center, Los Angeles [22]
19 1997 Fehn, SverreSverre Fehn Norway
Norwegian Glacier Museum (1991) Guggenheim Museum Bilbao [30]
20 1998 Piano, RenzoRenzo Piano Italy Renzo Piano cropped.jpg
Kansai International Airport Control Tower.JPG
Kansai International Airport (1994) White House, Washington DC [31]
21 1999 Foster, NormanNorman Foster United Kingdom 1999 winner Norman Foster, giving a speech behind a lecturn
Letecky pohlad.jpg
Willis Faber and Dumas Headquarters (1970-1975) Altes Museum, Berlin [22]
22 2000 Koolhaas, RemRem Koolhaas Netherlands Rem Koolhaas - portrait 03.jpg
Kunsthal Rotterdam.JPG
Kunsthal, Rotterdam (1992) Jerusalem Archaeological Park [32]
23 2001 Herzog & de Meuron Switzerland
Tate Modern, Londres, Inglaterra, 2014-08-11, DD 116-117 HDR.JPG
Tate Modern (2000) Monticello, Charlottesville, Virginia [33]
24 2002 Murcutt, GlennGlenn Murcutt Australia 27-11-04 Murcutt y yo 022.jpg
Marika-Alderton House (1991-94) Campidoglio, Rome [34]
25 2003 Utzon, JørnJørn Utzon Denmark
Sydney opera house side view.jpg
Sydney Opera House (1973) Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando, Madrid [35]
26 2004 Hadid, ZahaZaha Hadid United Kingdom
(born Iraq)
Zaha hadid - Flickr - Knight Foundation.jpg
Phaeno Suedseite RB.jpg
Phæno Science Centre (1999-2005) Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg [22][D]
27 2005 Mayne, ThomThom Mayne United States
DiamondRanchHS - CarolHighsmith - 4.jpg
Diamond Ranch High School (1999) Pritzker Pavilion, Chicago [36]
28 2006 Mendes da Rocha, PauloPaulo Mendes da Rocha Brazil Paulo Mendes Da Rocha-Arquisur 2009.jpg
Paulo mendes da rocha - capela de são pedro apóstolo - campos do jordão - são paulo - brasil.jpg
Saint Peter Chapel, Campos do Jordão, São Paulo (1987) Dolmabahçe Palace, Istanbul [37]
29 2007 Rogers, RichardRichard Rogers United Kingdom
(born Italy)
Queen Elizabeth II with Richard Rogers and Sue Essex.jpg
Lloyds building taken 2011.jpg
Lloyd's building (1986) Banqueting House, Whitehall, London [38][E]
30 2008 Nouvel, JeanJean Nouvel France Jean Nouvel 2009 Vienna.jpg
El Poblenou - Carrer de Badajoz P1360344.JPG
Torre Agbar (2005) Library of Congress, Washington DC [22][39]
31 2009 Zumthor, PeterPeter Zumthor Switzerland
Therme Vals facade, Vals, Graubünden, Switzerland - 20051009.jpg
Therme Vals (1996) Legislative Palace of the City Council, Buenos Aires [22][40]
32 2010 Sejima, KazuyoKazuyo Sejima and
Ryue Nishizawa (SANAA)
Japan Kazuyo Sejima mg 4973-small.jpg
Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2009.JPG
Serpentine Gallery Pavilion (2009) Ellis Island, New York City
33 2011 Souto de Moura, EduardoEduardo Souto de Moura Portugal Eduardo Souto de Moura.jpg
Casa das Histórias Paula Rego.JPG
Casa das Histórias Paula Rego (2009) Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium, Washington DC [41]
34 2012 Wang Shu China Wang-Shu Taipei.jpg
North facet of NBM.JPG
Ningbo Museum, Ningbo (2008) Great Hall of the People, Beijing [42]
35 2013 Ito, ToyoToyo Ito Japan Toyo Ito 2009.jpg
Tower of Winds2.jpg
Tower of Winds (1986) John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston [43]
36 2014 Ban, ShigeruShigeru Ban Japan Centre Pompidou-Metz - Pose de la première pierre -2.jpg
Metz (F) - Centre Pompidou - Außenansicht.jpg
Centre Pompidou-Metz (2010) Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam [44]
37 2015 Otto, FreiFrei Otto Germany
Olympiastadion, Múnich, Alemania 2012-04-28, DD 03.JPG
Olympic Stadium, Munich (1972) New World Center, Miami [15][16]



  • "Past laureates". Pritzker Architecture Prize official site. The Hyatt Foundation. Retrieved March 17, 2013. 


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  14. ^ "Media Kit: Announcing the 2010 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate". The Hyatt Foundation. Retrieved March 29, 2010. 
  15. ^ a b "Frei Otto, 2015 Laureate". Pritzker Architecture Prize. March 10, 2015. Retrieved March 11, 2015. 
  16. ^ a b Pritzker Prize for Frei Otto, German Architect, Announced After His Death, Robin Pogrebin, The New York Times, March 10, 2015
  17. ^ "Partner Without the Prize". The New York Times. Retrieved April 18, 2013. 
  18. ^ "Pritzker Architecture Prize Committee Denies Honors for Denise Scott Brown". Retrieved June 18, 2013. 
  19. ^ Catriona Davies (May 29, 2013). "Denise Scott Brown: Architecture favors 'lone male genius' over women". CNN. 
  20. ^ "People – In the News". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. May 23, 1979. p. 2. Retrieved June 26, 2009. 
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  33. ^ "Herzog & de Meuron Propose Castle in The Sky for Hamburg". Das Spiegel. June 14, 2005. Retrieved June 26, 2009. 
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  44. ^ Hawthorne, Christopher (March 24, 2014). "Architect Shigeru Ban, known for disaster relief, wins Pritzker Prize". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 24, 2014. 

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See also[edit]