Founder of Firm Renovating Athens’ Archaeological Museum Wins ‘Nobel of Architecture’

British architect and urban planner David Alan Chipperfield was won the Pritzker Architecture Prize – which is considered ‘the Nobel Prize of architecture’. The Associated Press reports that Chipperfield was honored for “a commitment to an architecture of understated but transformative civic presence.”

Chipperfield’s design recently won the commission for the renovation and expansion of the National Archaeological Museum in Athens. CNN.com notes that, “fittingly, the Greek capital has been chosen to host the ceremony at which Chipperfield will be formally awarded the Pritzker Prize.”

According to AP, “organizers called Chipperfield’s work – more than 100 projects over four decades ranging from cultural, civic and academic buildings to urban planning to residences, and including a recent addition to Berlin’s famed Museum Island complex – ‘subtle yet powerful, subdued yet elegant.’”

The statement announcing the 2023 winner noted that, “he is a prolific architect who is radical in his restraint… demonstrating his reverence for history and culture while honoring the preexisting built and natural environments.”

The statement also cited his “timeless modern design that confronts climate urgencies, transforms social relationships and reinvigorates cities.” They also “noted his commitment to society and the environment over chasing trends.”

Tom Pritzker, chairman of the Hyatt Foundation, which sponsors the award, said that “he is assured without hubris, consistently avoiding trendiness to confront and sustain the connections between tradition and innovation, serving history and humanity.”

FILE – British architect David Chipperfield, is bringing his expertise in restoring historic buildings to the 500-year-old Procuratie Vecchie, poses at the Generali Group office during the media launch of the Procuratie Vecchie buildings and the Royal Gardens restoration, in St Mark’s square in Venice, Italy on Oct. 4, 2017.(AP Photo/Luca Bruno, File)

The AP informs that, “based in London, with additional offices in four other countries, Chipperfield has worked across Asia and Europe and also in U.S. cities like Davenport, Iowa, and Anchorage, Alaska,” and that “Chipperfield noted that museum expansions comprised some of his most rewarding projects.”

“Our museum projects have always allowed us to play with the physical stuff of architecture – space, volume, material, light. But they’ve also allowed us to play with societal meaningfulness… And how does a cultural institution engage with the city it’s in, if that’s St. Louis or Anchorage or Davenport, Iowa.”

According to the AP, “Chipperfield was born in London and raised on a farm in Devon, in southwest England, where he has said a collection of barns and outbuildings shaped his early impressions of architecture. He founded David Chipperfield Architects in London in 1985, which later added offices in Berlin, Shanghai, Milan and Santiago de Compostela in Spain.”

The Pritzker Architecture Prize, “was established in 1979 by the late entrepreneur Jay A. Pritzker and his wife, Cindy. Winners receive a $100,000 grant and a bronze medallion,” the AP notes.

Chipperfield is the 52nd winner and he will receive $100,000 and a bronze medal.

“We don’t work for prizes, obviously, and you put them to the back of your mind,” CNN.com quoted, “but they’re extremely nice when they come along.”

(Material from the Associate Press and CNN.com was used in this article)


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