Pritzker Prize

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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".[1] Founded in 1979 by Jay A. Pritzker and his wife Cindy, the award is funded by the Pritzker family and is considered to be one of the world's premier architecture prizes; it is often referred to as the Nobel Prize of architecture.[2][3] The prize is awarded "irrespective of nationality, race, creed, or ideology";[4] the recipients receive US$100,000, a citation certificate, and since 1987, a bronze medallion.[5] The Latin inscription on the reverse of the medallion—firmitas, utilitas, venustas (English: durability, utility, and beauty)—is inspired by Roman architect Vitruvius.[6] Before 1987, a limited edition Henry Moore sculpture accompanied the monetary prize.[5]

The Executive Director of the prize, as of 2009, Martha Thorne,[7] solicits nominations from a range of people including past Laureates, academics, critics and others "with expertise and interest in the field of architecture".[4] Any licensed architect can also make a personal application for the prize before 1 November every year. In 1988 Gordon Bunshaft nominated himself for the award and eventually won it.[8] The jury, each year consisting of five to nine "experts ... recognized professionals in their own fields of architecture, business, education, publishing, and culture", deliberate early the following year before announcing the winner in spring.[4]

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".[9] The 2004 laureate Zaha Hadid was the first female prize winner.[10] Ryue Nishizawa became the youngest winner in 2010 at age 44.[11] The 34th and most recent winners Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa were cited for "architecture that is simultaneously delicate and powerful, precise and fluid, ingenious but not overly or overtly clever".[12]


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