Architectural Partners in Japan Become the 2010 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureates

March 29th, 2010

Ryue Nishizawa and Kazuyo Sejima, 2010 recipients of the Pritzker Prize

Just announced, this year not one but two architects have been awarded the prestigious Pritzker Prize for architecture. Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizama, the lead architects of the Japanese firm SANAA, were praised by the jury thus, “For architecture that is simultaneously delicate and powerful, precise and fluid, ingenious but not overly or overtly clever; for the creation of buildings that successfully interact with their contexts and the activities they contain, creating a sense of fullness and experiential richness; for a singular architectural language that springs from a collaborative process that is both unique and inspirational; for their notable completed buildings and the promise of new projects together.”

New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, 2007

More text and images after the jump…

New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, 2007

This will be only the third time in the history of the prize that two architects have been named simultaneously. The mission of the jury and prize giving is to annually honor contemporary architects, whose works have repeatedly, and consistently, represented noteworthy contributions to not only our built environment but also the public’s enjoyment of it.

Christian Dior Building Omotesando Tokyo, Japan 2003

Though the majority of their work is in Japan, Sejima and Nishizawa have nevertheless made an impact worldwide with significant design projects in Germany, England, Spain, France, the Netherlands and the United States, under their collaborative name SANAA. In the United States these projects include a Glass Pavilion for the Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio, completed 2006, and the New Museum, New York, completed 2007.

Glass Pavilion, Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, Ohio 2006

Glass Pavilion, Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, Ohio 2006, interior view

The New Museum, which has been described as “a sculptural stack of rectilinear boxes dynamically shifted off-axis around a central steel core,” was specifically cited as a major architectural success by the jury. Paul Goldberger said of the New Museum “the building is original, but doesn’t strain to reinvent the idea of a museum. Sejima and Nishizawa have a way of combining intensity with understatement,” in an article for the New Yorker. This statement could easily be applied to any of their projects; their designs are effortless yet substantial.

New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, 2007

“They explore like few others the phenomenal properties of continuous space, lightness, transparency, and materiality to create a subtle synthesis. Sejima and Nishizawa’s architecture stands in direct contrast with the bombastic and rhetorical,” the jury said in its citation. “Instead, they seek the essential qualities of architecture that result in a much-appreciated straightforwardness, economy of means, and restraint in their work.”

O-Museum Iida, Nagano Japan 1999, exterior view

O-Museum Iida, Nagano Japan 1999, interior view

Related Links:
The Pritzker Architecture Prize [Official Website]
Japanese Architect Duo Take Home the Pritzker Prize [New York Magazine]
Monster Mash: Tokyo Architects Win Pritzker Prize [LA Times]
How to win the Pritzker Architecture Prize: Practice, practice, practice (and don’t be shy about nominating yourself) [Chicago Tribune]
Pritzker Prize Goes To Japan’s SANAA Duo [NPR]
Japanese Architects Win Pritzker Prize [Daily Beast]