April 3, 2007
by Canadian Architect
Richard Rogers, whose firm Richard Rogers Partnership is headquartered in London, has been chosen as the 2007 Laureate of the Pritzker Architecture Prize. The formal ceremony for what has come to be known throughout the world as architectures highest honour will be held on June 4 in London. At that time, a $100,000 grant and a bronze medallion will be bestowed on the 73-year-old architect at The Banqueting House, designed in 1619 by Inigo Jones.
In announcing the jurys choice, Thomas J. Pritzker, president of The Hyatt Foundation, quoted from the jury citation: Born in Florence, Italy, and trained as an architect in London, at the Architectural Association, and later, in the United States at Yale University, Rogers has an outlook as urbane and expansive as his upbringing. In his writings, through his role as advisor to policy-making groups, as well as his large-scale planning work, Rogers is a champion of urban life and believes in the potential of the city to be a catalyst for social change.
In Rogers own words, his vision is that cities of the future will no longer be zoned as today in isolated one-activity ghettos; rather they will resemble the more richly layered cities of the past. Living, work, shopping, learning, and leisure will overlap and be housed in continuous, varied and changing structures.
Pritzker Prize jury chairman, The Lord Palumbo elaborated with more of the citation: Throughout his distinguished career of more than 40 years, Richard Rogers has consistently pursued the highest goals for architecture. Key Rogers projects already represent defining moments in the history of contemporary architecture. The Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris (1971-1977), designed in partnership with Renzo Piano, revolutionized museums, transforming what had once been elite monuments into popular places of social and cultural exchange, woven into the heart of the city. Lloyds of London in the City of London (1978-1986), another landmark of late 20th-century design, established Richard Rogers reputation as a master not only of the large urban building, but also of his own brand of architectural expressionism. As these buildings and other subsequent projects, such as the recently completed and acclaimed Terminal 4, Barajas Airport in Madrid (1997-2005) demonstrate, a unique interpretation of the Modern Movements fascination with thebuilding as machine, an interest in architectural clarity and transparency, the integration of public and private spaces, and a commitment to flexible floor plans that respond to the ever-changing demands of users, are recurring themes in his work. Terminal 4, Barajas Airport won the 2006 Stirling Prize.
Rogers is the fourth laureate to be chosen from the United Kingdom, the first three being the late James Stirling in 1981, Lord Foster (Norman Foster) in 1999, and Zaha Hadid in 2004. He is the 31st laureate since the prize was founded in 1979. Rogers was appointed a Labour life peer in 1996 taking the title, The Lord Rogers of Riverside. In addition to London, Richard Rogers Partnership (which will be renamed Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners in the UK next month) has offices in Barcelona, Madrid and Tokyo. Some of the major projects that span the globe include: in New York, the design for a 71-storey tower for the World Trade Center site at 175 Greenwich Street; in Washington, DC, an office building under construction at 300 New Jersey Avenue; in the UK, mentioning just a few works the Leadenhall Building; the Millennium Experience;and an early project, Wimbledon House, a home for Rogers parents in the late 1960s; the National Assembly for Wales in Cardiff; the Nippon Television Headquarters in Tokyo, as well as several other projects there and in South Korea.
The purpose of the Pritzker Architecture Prize is to honour annually 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. The distinguished jury that selected Rogers as the 2007 Laureate consists of itschairman, Lord 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 former trustee of the Mies van der Rohe Archive at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; and alphabetically: Shigeru Ban, architect and professor at Keio University, Tokyo, Japan; Balkrishna Vithaldas Doshi, architect, planner and professor of architecture of Ahmedabad, India; Rolf Fehlbaum, chairman of the board, Vitra in Basel, Switzerland; Carlos Jimenez, professor, Rice University School of Architecture, principal, Carlos Jimenez Studio in Houston, Texas; Victoria Newhouse architectural historian and author, founder and director of the Architectural History Foundation, New York, New York; Renzo Piano, architect and Pritzker Laureate, of Paris, France and Genoa, Italy; and Karen Stein, editorial director of Phaidon Press in New York. Martha Thorne, formerly a curator of architecture at the Art Institute of Chicago, is executive director.
The prize presentation ceremony moves to different locations around the world each year, paying homage to historic and contemporary architecture. Last year, the ceremony was held in Istanbul, Turkey at the Dolmabahe Palace. The year before, Chicagos Jay Pritzker Pavilion, designed by 1989 Pritzker Laureate Frank Gehry, was the venue in that citys new Millennium Park. The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia was the site in 2004. Over the years ceremonies have been at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando, Madrid, Spain; Michelangelos Campidoglio in Rome, Italy; Thomas Jeffersons Monticello, in Charlottesville, Virginia; the Jerusalem Archaeological Park, and The White House in Washington, DC. The list of venues goes on to include not only a great many of the great museums in the United States, but also many other countries including France, England, the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Mexico and Japan.
It was a fortuitous decision to go to London this year, explains Hyatt Foundation President, Thomas Pritzker, but it was a decision made long before the jury selected Rogers as this years honouree. The location for the ceremony is always planned before the laureate is chosen by the jury.
The late Philip Johnson was the first Pritzker Laureate in 1979. The late Luis Barragn of Mexico was named in 1980. The late James Stirling of the United Kingdom was elected in 1981, Kevin Roche in 1982, Ieoh Ming Pei in 1983, and Richard Meier in 1984. Hans Hollein of Austria was the 1985 Laureate. Gottfried Bhm of Germany received the prize in 1986. The late Kenzo Tange was the first Japanese architect to receive the prize in 1987; Fumihiko Maki was the second from Japan in 1993; and Tadao Ando the third in 1995. Robert Venturi received the honour in 1991, and Alvaro Siza of Portugal in 1992. Christian de Portzamparc of France was elected Pritzker Laureate in 1994. The late Gordon Bunshaft of the United States and Oscar Niemeyer of Brazil, were named in 1988. Frank Gehry of the United States was the recipient in 1989, the late Aldo Rossi of Italy in 1990. In 1996, Rafael Moneo of Spain was the Laureate; in 1997 Sverre Fehn of Norway; in 1998 Renzo Piano of Italy, in 1999 Sir Norman Foster of the UK, and in 2000, Rem Koolhaas of the Netherlands. In 2001, two architects from Switzerland received the honour: Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron. Australian Glenn Murcutt received the prize in 2002. Jrn Utzon of Denmark was honoured in 2003; Zaha Hadid of the UK in 2004; and Thom Mayne of the United States in 2005. Last year, Paulo Mendes da Rocha of Brazil was the Laureate.
The field of architecture was chosen by the Pritzker family because of their keen interest in building due to their involvement with developing the Hyatt Hotels around the world; also because architecture was a creative endeavor not included in the Nob
el Prizes. The procedures were modelled after the Nobels, with the final selection being made by the international jury with all deliberations and voting in secret. Nominations are continuous from year to year with hundreds of nominees from countries all around the world being considered each year.