Saturday, 2 October 2010

The PRITZKER prize [prizes vol.1]

The prize takes its name from the Pritzker family, whose international business interests are headquartered in Chicago. Their name is synonymous with Hyatt Hotels located throughout the world. The Pritzkers have long been known for their support of educational, scientific, medical, and cultural activities. Jay A. Pritzker, (1922-1999), founded the prize with his wife, Cindy. His eldest son, Thomas J. Pritzker, the current president of The Hyatt Foundation, explains, “As native Chicagoans, it’s not surprising that our family was keenly aware of architecture, living in the birthplace of the skyscraper, a city filled with buildings designed by architectural legends such as Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies van der Rohe, and many others.”

The Pritzker Architecture Prize is awarded annually by the Hyatt Foundation to honor "a living 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". It is often referred to as the Nobel Prize of architecture. The prize is awarded "irrespective of nationality, race, creed, or ideology"; the recipients receive US$100,000, a citation certificate, and since 1987, a bronze medallion.The Latin inscription on the reverse of the medallion—firmitas, utilitas, venustas (English:durability, utility, and beauty)—is inspired by Roman architect Vitruvius. Before 1987, a limited edition Henry Moore sculpture accompanied the monetary prize.

The Executive Director of the prize, as of 2009, Martha Thorne solicits nominations from a range of people including past Laureates, academics, critics and others "with expertise and interest in the field of architecture". Any licensed architect can also make a personal application for the prize before 1 November every year. In 1988Gordon Bunshaft nominated himself for the award and eventually won it. The jury, each year consisting of five to nine "experts recognized professionals in their own fields of architecture, business, education, publishing, and culture".

The official ceremony granting the award takes place every year, usually in May, at an architecturally significant site throughout the world. The choice of location of the ceremony reinforces the importance of the built environment while providing a unique setting for the ceremony. The presentation ceremonies move around the world each year, paying homage to the architecture of other eras and/or works by previous laureates of the prize. As the ceremony locations are usually chosen each year before the laureate is selected, there is no intended connection between the two.

The invitation-only event is attended by international guests and guests from the host country. The ceremony itself normally consists of welcoming remarks usually from a dignitary of the host country; comments from the jury chairman; the presentation of the prize by Thomas Pritzker; and an acceptance speech from the Laureate.

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".The 2004 laureate Zaha Hadid was the first female prize winner. Richard Meier became the youngest winner in 1984 at age 49. The 34th and most recent winners Kazuyo Sejimaand Ryue Nishizawa were cited for "architecture that is simultaneously delicate and powerful, precise and fluid, ingenious but not overly or overtly clever".

Los Angeles, CA—Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, partners in the architectural firm, SANAA, have been chosen as the 2010 Laureates of the Pritzker Architecture Prize. The formal ceremony for what has come to be known throughout the world as architecture’s highest honor will be held on May 17 on historic Ellis Island in New York.

ps:good luck to all of the wannabe Laureates of the Pritzker Architecture Prize :-)

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