David Chipperfield Wins 2023 Pritzker Prize

British architect David Chipperfield, who is known for designs that reject globalist style and instead respond to their local surrounds, and for his elegant modernist interventions in historic buildings, has been named the winner of the 2023 Pritzker Prize, architecture’s highest honor. Among the museums Chipperfield has built are the Museo Jumex, Mexico City; Turner Contemporary, Margate, England; Kunsthaus Zürich; the reconstruction of the Neues Museum, Berlin, and the expansion of the Mies van der Rohe–designed Neue Nationalgalerie, also in Berlin. In 2017, he was chosen to restore the sixteenth-century Procuratie Vecchie in Venice’s Piazza San Marco. Other notable structures include the Americas’ Cup Building in Valencia, Spain; the Inagawa Cemetery Chapel and Visitor Center in Hyogo, Japan; and the central branch of the Des Moines Public Library.

“[Chipperfield’s] commitment to an architecture of understated but transformative civic presence and the definition—even through private commissions—of the public realm, is done always with austerity, avoiding unnecessary moves and steering clear of trends and fashions, all of which is a most relevant message to our contemporary society,” commented the prize jury in a collective statement. “Such a capacity to distill and perform meditated design operations is a dimension of sustainability that has not been obvious in recent years: sustainability as pertinence, not only eliminates the superfluous but is also the first step to creating structures able to last, physically and culturally.”

Born in London and raised on a farm in modest circumstances, Chipperfield graduated from Kingston School of Art in 1976 and the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London in 1980. His first major commissions, in in 1988 and 1989, respectively, were the Gotoh Museum in Chiba, Japan, and the River & Rowing Museum in Henley-on-Thames, England. Today, David Chipperfield Architects has offices in Berlin; London; Milan; Santiago de Compostela, Spain; and Shanghai.

Speaking with the New York Times on the occasion of the award, Chipperfield expressed pleasure at winning the honor, but quickly took the opportunity to bring attention to architecture that is both sustainable and accessible to the masses. “It should be a civil right to have housing, to have a good physical environment,” he asserted. “That shouldn’t be a privilege of only rich people. We can’t just leave parts of society behind.”


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