Pritzker Prize awarded to British architect Chipperfield

The Pritzker Architecture Prize — the highest honor in the field — was presented to British architect and urban planner David Alan Chipperfield, who was hailed on Tuesday for “his commitment to architecture with a restrained but transformative civic presence.”

Organizers called Chipperfield’s work – more than 100 projects over four decades ranging from cultural, civic and academic buildings to urban planning and residential housing, including a recent extension to Berlin’s famed Museum Island complex – “subtle yet powerful, subdued yet elegant “.

“He is a prolific architect who is radical in his restraint,” they said in a statement announcing the 2023 winner, “who demonstrates his reverence for history and culture while honoring the built and natural environments that already exist .” They cited his “timeless, modern design that confronts climate challenges, transforms social relationships and revitalizes cities”.

And they noticed his commitment to society and the environment rather than following trends.

“He is assured of being hubris-free, consistently eschewing trends to confront and uphold the connections between tradition and innovation, and to serve history and humanity,” said Tom Pritzker, chairman of the Hyatt Foundation, which sponsors the award .

Based in London with additional offices in four other countries, Chipperfield has worked across Asia and Europe as well as in US cities such as Davenport, Iowa and Anchorage, Alaska.

In 2019, the city of Berlin conducted the James Simon Gallery, A new gateway designed by Chipperfield to the Museum Island complex, seen as a key moment in efforts to refurbish the five museum site, which houses treasures such as Babylon’s Ishtar Gate and a famous bust of Egypt’s Queen Nefertiti.

Pritzker Prize organizers praised the design, including its “dominant, if discreet, colonnades” and the way it “allows for generous views inside and out, even of neighboring buildings and the surrounding cityscape.”

Ten years earlier, in 2009, Chipperfield completed a major restoration and reinvention of the Neues Museum on the complex, a building constructed 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 wasn’t just a museum, it was part of the fabric, the heritage of the city in its good and worst ways,” he told The Associated Press from Berlin on Monday. “It was a wonderful 19th-century building but badly damaged by the traumatic events of World War II and then neglected due to the post-war division of the city.

“So this poor building carried a tremendous amount of history with it. And that’s why we also looked very closely at its emotional potential during the reconstruction. It wasn’t just an intellectual thing, it was what it meant for Berlin, what it meant for Germany.”

Chipperfield noted that museum expansions were among his most rewarding projects.

“Our museum projects have always allowed us to play with the physical things of architecture – space, volume, material, light. But they also allowed us to play with societal meaning,” he said. “And how does a cultural institution interact with the city it’s in, whether that’s St. Louis or Anchorage or Davenport, Iowa.”

He also spoke of the tension between architecture as an art and as a service.

“I think architects are a bit confused as to whether they are artists or a service industry. In a way, we’re more of the latter,” he said. “Our relationship is much more enmeshed in society, and that’s the way it should be. And that gives us a special role… but it comes at a cost. It comes at a price that we must use wisely.”

He reflected that as an architect, he felt an obligation not only to the “visible customers” – the ones who place the orders and pay the bills – but also to the “invisible” customers, “the people who are going to work in this building, in this one live in a building, visit that building, or even drive past that building every day on their way to work. In a way, we have to represent that customer in the back of our mind as well as the one who pays our bills.”

In their statement, the Pritzker organizers also cited Chipperfield’s restoration last year of the 16th-century Procuratie Vecchie in Venice, Italy, which “redefined the civic-fitness of this building in the heart of the city to allow for universal access for the first time.” .

In Asia, it cited its headquarters for Amorepacific in Seoul, which harmonized “the individual and the collective, the private and the public, work and recreation,” and the Inagawa Cemetery Chapel and Visitor Center in Hyogo, Japan, where “the physical and spiritual coexist, with places of solitude and gathering, for peace and quest.”

“We don’t see an instantly recognizable David Chipperfield building in different cities,” the jury explained, “but rather different David Chipperfield buildings designed specifically for the circumstances.”

Born in London and raised on a farm in Devon, south-west England, Chipperfield says a cluster of barns and outbuildings shaped his early impressions of architecture.

In 1985 he founded David Chipperfield Architects in London, which later expanded in Spain with offices in Berlin, Shanghai, Milan and Santiago de Compostela.

Chipperfield is the 52nd recipient of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, established in 1979 by the late entrepreneur Jay A. Pritzker and his wife Cindy. Winners will receive a $100,000 stipend and a bronze medal.

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission. Pritzker Prize awarded to British architect Chipperfield

Sarah Y. Kim

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