Pritzker Prize 2010 winner – Architects Ryue Nishizawa, Kazuyo Sejima SANAA

Pritzker Prize 2010 winner – Architects Ryue Nishizawa, Kazuyo Sejima SANAA

The Pritzker committee made history today by naming Ryue Nishizawa and Kazuyo Sejima as recipients of the 2010 Pritzker Architecture Prize.

It’s only the second time that the award has gone to a woman, the second time the award has gone to a duo, and the first-ever award for a male-female duo.

“For architecture that is simultaneously delicate and powerful, precise and fluid, ingenious but not overly or overtly clever,” reads the jury citation. “For the creation of buildings that successfully interact with their contexts and the activities they contain, creating a sense of fullness and experiential richness; for a singular architectural language that springs from a collaborative process that is both unique and inspirational; for their notable completed buildings and the promise of new projects together, Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa are the recipients of the 2010 Pritzker Architecture Prize.”

The duo will receive the prize at a ceremony on Ellis Island, New York on 17 May 2010. They will receive bronze medallions and a US$100,000 grant at the ceremony.

The Japanese Sejima and Nishizawa, who practice under the name SANAA, have worked together since 1995. They are probably best known for their New Museum of Contemporary Art building on the Bowery in New York City, a stacked, wire-mesh wrapped sculpture that nodded to its in-transition surroundings.

Their biggest major building was just completed in Switzerland, the undulating concrete planes of the Rolex Learning Center which appear to rise naturally out of the site.

The Glass Pavilion at the Toledo Museum of Art opened in 2006 and features hundreds of curved glass panels that make up most of the exterior and interior walls.

More glass wraps the circular 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa, Japan, which has no front or back, making for a truly accessible, public building.

A cube with seemingly-random punched-out windows that flood the interiors with light created a landmark structure for the Zollverein School for Management and Design in Germany.


Pre Pritzker award story ….

Handicapping Sunday’s Pritzker Prize Announcement

By Alissa Walker          Fri Mar 26, 2010

It’s that time of year again! This Sunday will see the announcement of the 2010 Pritzker Architecture Prize, the highest honor in the field. Every year since 1979 (when the award went to Modernist master Philip Johnson), the Pritzker has been given to an architect “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.” Usually they’re also at least 50 years old, white, male and have at least a few major buildings under their belts.

Although everyone would love an underdog to snatch architecture’s top prize–a large contingency is calling for Architecture for Humanity’s socially-focused founder Cameron Sinclair to win–when it comes to the Pritzker, the winners are often fairly predictable. We’ve compiled a list of who we think are this year’s top six picks, and why or why not they’d win this year.

The Frontrunner: Steven Holl

Most critics are placing bets on the New York architect and it would certainly be well-timed. His just-completed “horizontal skyscraper” Vanke Center in Shenzhen (above) which is as long as the Empire State Building is tall, is one of many sustainable, large-scale developments Holl has brought to China, capping a long list of built projects all over the world. This may very well be Holl’s year.

The Experimental Duo: Elizabeth Diller & Ricardo Scofidio

Everyone would love to see another woman win (the only female architect ever to get the Pritzker has been Zaha Hadid). Recently completed projects like Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall (above) and the High Line have proved that Diller and Scofidio are essential to the fabric of New York City. The Pritzkers have only gone to a duo once in history: Herzog and deMeuron in 2001.

The Sustainable Choice: Shigeru Ban

If the Pritzker committee is in any way issues-oriented (we’re not sure they are) and wants to acknowledge advances in green design, Ban is the man. The Japanese architect known for his “paper architecture” using cardboard and reclaimed materials is putting the finishing touches on his most major project to date, the Centre Pompidou in Metz (above).

The Crafty Duo: Kazuyo Sejima & Ryue Nishizawa

Known as SANAA (you probably know them best for their New Museum building in New York), This Japanese male-female team now has a major project underneath their belts with the Rolex Learning Center in Switzerland (above). The Pritzkers love craft-oriented practitioners, and SANAA has been quietly building its empire for years. Plus, here’s another chance for the Pritzker to go to a woman.

The Odd Angle: Daniel Libeskind

No one can argue that Libeskind hasn’t been busy proliferating the planet with his spiny, spiky works (why, we covered his Dublin Grand Canal Theater earlier today). The Polish-born architect has a distinctive style which seems to attract the Pritzker committee, but Libeskind’s failed pitch for the Freedom Tower may have hurt his reputation with the bigwigs.

The Wildcard: Toyo Ito

Another Japanese architect has designed some wildly fanciful buildings like the Za-Koenji theater in Tokyo, and with the Pritzker overdue to acknowledge a Japanese architect, Ito’s odds are improved (Tadao Ando was the last Japanese nod in 1995). But Ito’s biggest works are probably still before him.

We’ve put everything we’ve got on Holl, but who do you think will win? More importantly, who do you think should win? We’ll be standing by Sunday morning with the announcement.

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