SANAA duo takes 2010 Pritzker Prize
Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, partners in the Japanese architectural firm SANAA, have been named the 2010 Laureates of the Pritzker Architectural Prize. It is the second time in the Pritker’s 31-year history that the prize has gone to a pair and the second time its gone to a woman. The formal ceremony will take place on 17 May at Ellis Island in New York. At that time the architects will be awarded a $100,000 grant and bronze medallions.
Widely considered architecture’s top honour, the Pritzker Architectural Prize is awarded annually to a living architect whose built work demonstrates a combination of talent, vision and commitment and represents a consistent and significant contribution to humanity and the built environment. The jury said they selected the Japanese duo as the 2010 Laureates, “For architecture that is simultaneously delicate and powerful, precise and fluid, ingenious but not overly or overtly clever; for the creation of buildings that successfully interact with their contexts and the activities they contain; for 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; and for their notable completed buildings and the promise of new projects together.”
While most of their work is in Japan, Sejima and Nishizawa have designed projects in Germany, England, Spain, France, the Netherlands and the United States. But it was the pair's two buildings in the US, a glass pavilion for the Toledo Museum of Art (2006) and the New Museum in New York (2007) and two in Japan, the O-Museum, one of their first projects together, and the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa that the jury cited as standouts.
Upon learning of her selection for the Prize, Kazuyo Sejima said, “ I am thrilled to receive such an honour. I would like to thank the Pritzker (Hyatt) foundation, the jury members, the clients who have worked with us, and all of our collaborators. I have been exploring how I can make architecture that feels open, which I feel is important for a new generation of architecture. With this prize I will continue trying to make wonderful architecture.” In a similar statement Rye Nishizawa said, “ I receive this wonderful prize with great humility. I am very honoured and at the same time very surprised. I receive and understand this prize as encouragement for our efforts. Every time I finish a building, I revel in possibilities and at the same time reflect on what has happened. Each project becomes my motivation for the next new project. In the same way this wonderful prize has given me a dynamic energy that I have never felt before. I thank you very much.”
As always, the Pritzker Architecture Prize is awarded by a distinguished jury panel. This year’s jury was chaired by Lord Peter Palumbo, internationally known architectural patron of London, chairman of the trustees, Serpentine Gallery, former chairman of the Arts Council of Great Britain, former chairman of the Tate Gallery Foundation, and the former trustee of the Mies van der Rohe Archive at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and included Alejandro Aravena, architect and executive director of Elemental in Santiago, Chile; Rolf Fehlbaum, chairman of the board of Vitra in Basel, Switzerland; Carlos Jiminez, professor at Rice University School of Architecture and principal, Carlos Jiminez Studio in Houston, Texas; Juhani Pallasmaa, architect, professor and author of Helsinki, Finland; Renzo Piano, architect and Pritzker Laureate of Paris, France and Genoa, Italy; and Karen Stein; writer, editor and architectural consultant in New York.