The Pritzker Architecture Prize – the highest honor in the field – was awarded Tuesday to British architect and urban planner David Alan Chipperfield for his “commitment to the architecture of understated but transformative civic presence.”
The organizers call Chipperfield’s work – more than 100 projects over four decades ranging from cultural, civic and educational buildings to urban planning to residences, and a recent inclusion in Berlin’s famous Museum Island complex – “subtle yet powerful, subdued yet elegant.”
“He is a prolific architect who is radical in his restraint,” he said in a statement announcing the 2023 winner, “demonstrating his reverence for history and culture while respecting the former built and natural environment.” They cited his “timeless modern design that confronts the urgency of climate, transforms social relations and rejuvenates cities.”
And he noted his commitment to society and the environment over chasing trends.
Tom Pritzker, president of the Hyatt Foundation, which sponsors the award, said, “They are assured without arrogance, they avoid the persistent tendency to confront and preserve the relationship between tradition and innovation, history and the service of humanity.” We do.”
Based in London, with additional offices in four other countries, Chipperfield has operations in Asia and Europe as well as in US cities such as Davenport, Iowa and Anchorage, Alaska.
In 2019, the city of Berlin debuted the James Simon Gallery, a new gateway designed by Chipperfield to the Museum Island complex and seen as a pivotal moment in the renewal efforts of the five-museum venue. In which there are treasures like the Ishtar Gate of Babylon and a famous one. Statue of Egyptian Queen Nefertiti.
The organizers of the Pritzker Prize praised the design, including its “commanding, though discreet, colonnade” and the way it “enables generous views from within and outside, even through adjacent buildings and the surrounding urban landscape.”
Ten years ago, in 2009, Chipperfield completed a major renovation and reconstruction of the Neues Museum in the complex, a building built in the mid-19th century and largely destroyed during World War II.
In an interview, Chipperfield, 69, recalled the project as an intense experience.
“It was not just a museum, it was part of the fabric, the heritage of the city in its good and bad ways,” he told The Associated Press on Monday, speaking from Berlin. “It was a wonderful building from the 19th century, but was largely destroyed by the traumatic events of World War II and then neglected due to the subsequent division of the city.
“So it took with it this lousy building, a tremendous amount of history. And so when we rebuilt it, we were also very engaged in the emotional potential of it. It wasn’t just an intellectual thing, it was important to Berlin.” What it meant, what it meant for Germany.
Chipperfield said the museum’s expansion includes some of his most rewarding projects.
“Our museum projects have always allowed us to play with the physical ingredients of architecture – space, volume, materials, light. But they have also allowed us to play with social meaningfulness,” he said. “And a cultural institution How does that connect with the city where it is, St. Louis or Anchorage or Davenport, Iowa?”
He also spoke of the tension between views of architecture as an art form and as a service.
“I think architects are a little confused about whether they are artists or a service industry. In a way, we are very much the latter,” he said. “Our relationship is very much entangled in society, and that is as it should be. And it gives us a special role… but it comes at a cost. It comes at a cost that we have to engage in a meaningful way.”
He said that as an architect, he felt an obligation not only to “visible clients”—those who make commissions and pay the bills—but to “invisible” clients, “the people who work in that building.” going to do, live in that building, go to that building, or pass by that building every day on our way to work. We kind of have to represent that customer in the back of our head as much as our of the one who pays the bills.”
In their statement, the Pritzker organizers also cited Chipperfield’s restoration last year of the 16th-century Procuratie Vecchi in Venice, Italy, which “raised the civic potential of this building within the heart of the city to allow general access for the first time.” redefined.”
In Asia, it cited its headquarters for Amorpacific in Seoul, which it said “coordinates between individual and collective, private and public, work and relief,” and the Inagawa Cemetery Chapel and Visitor Center in Hyogo, Japan. where “the physical and the spiritual co-exist with places of solitude and gathering for peace and discovery.”
The jury said in their citation, “We do not see an immediately recognizable David Chipperfield building in different cities,” but there are different David Chipperfield buildings specifically designed for each situation.
Chipperfield was born in London and raised on a farm in Devon, southwest England, where he said a collection of barns and outbuildings shaped his early impressions of architecture.
He founded David Chipperfield Architects in London in 1985, which later expanded into Spain with offices in Berlin, Shanghai, Milan and Santiago de Compostela.
Chipperfield is the 52nd laureate of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, which was established in 1979 by the late entrepreneur Jay A. Pritzker and his wife, Cindy. Winners receive a grant of $100,000 and a bronze medal.