2009 Pritzker Prize?


My bet this year: Japan. Maybe Ito, maybe Sejima... but Japan (last Japanese -or Asian- to win the Prize was Ando back in 1995).

Jan 28, 09 6:30 am

nice cropping, medit.

i can't believe holl hasn't won yet. maybe with 'linked hybrid' in the news so much last year, this'll be his chance.

Jan 28, 09 7:45 am  · 

Peter Zumthor, please.

Jan 28, 09 8:23 am  · 

umm.. yes, Holl could be as well... I guess Zumthor, being an euro, will have to wait another, maybe two years.. last year was Nouvel, and the one before was Richard Rogers... though I'm not sure that being in the news has too much to do with being a strong candidate... at least if they still award a whole career and not who's in the magazines these days

Jan 28, 09 8:32 am  · 

i'd certainly be for zumthor, but also think he should wait his turn.

don't think being in the news is a criteria, necessarily, medit, but that particular project has given holl a new scale of work as part of his portfolio. and with the success of nelson atkins, the beautiful (unfortunately damaged) arts bldg in iowa, and several other recent works, he should at least be on the committee's radar.

Jan 28, 09 8:38 am  · 

I think Ito is overdue for a Pritzker....

Jan 28, 09 11:07 am  · 

will eisenmann ever get it?

I think zumthor might have a chance this year. Some how the earnestness of his work has a special resonance in this moment of doubt.

Jan 28, 09 11:51 am  · 
brian buchalski

somebody is going to win this award...i'mpretty sure of it

Jan 28, 09 12:43 pm  · 

agreed... Holl is the best weve got imo... id be please with Sejima as well...

Jan 28, 09 1:12 pm  · 

It had better be Zumthor or I'm taking some kneecaps out. After the Paulo Mendes da Rocha pick I really don't know what to expect though..

Unfortunately, Eisenman's window has closed. Its a shame, considering the influence he's had on the profession...

Jan 28, 09 1:24 pm  · 

Zumthor could use a few more completed works first. Not question of his office's talent though. I say a vote for the Japanese is a vote for the future.

As for Eiseypoo - he is over. I am currently in the profession where he's just some guy saying a lot of things who published a bunch of things but really hasn't had THAT much to contribute to 'professional' architecture as a whole.

Jan 28, 09 1:34 pm  · 
Carl Douglas (agfa8x)

those are some pretty sound picks, medit. of ito and sejima, i would think ito is the better bet

Jan 28, 09 1:52 pm  · 

I think actually that the US is likely to have another winner (there is a slight trend of 3 winners within 5 years from the US) so Holl has a shot. Also he's fricking amaizng!!

and if he does I think it will then open the doors for a Zumthor win - its all very voodoo technical

Jan 28, 09 1:55 pm  · 

yeah id like to see holl get it honestly... he will eventually id imagine... i might never have been impressed by a building as much as i was impressed by the nelson atkins in kansas city... absolutely stunning building...

Jan 28, 09 2:10 pm  · 

I said this last year (though I think it will be quite awhile-if ever- before he gets it), but i think Ben van Berkel/UN Studio is a worthy candidate. Recently they've completed the Mercedes Benz Museum, Agora theatre, Villa NM (rip), and have an impressive body of built work from the Mobius House to the NMR facility. They're also republishing their three-volume MOVE manifesto from '98 into one novel this year.

Jan 28, 09 2:57 pm  · 
brian buchalski

actually, my money's on david adjaye

Jan 28, 09 3:09 pm  · 

I reckon Holl will get it soon. His work really frustrates me though; the brilliance throughout his career always seems to be countered with an equal amount of clumsiness..

Jan 28, 09 4:04 pm  · 

I would also like UN Studio to get it. They have really pushed the boundaries these last years in the possibilities to go from digital design to physical buildings. And Eisenman, well he should have gotten his Pritzker 20 years ago.

Jan 28, 09 4:23 pm  · 

ito, sejima, zumthor, holl. all great picks, and all will probably end up with a pritzker in the next 5-10 years, if not this year. i like sejima this year for a few reasons, not least of which is how long she (alone and w/SANAA) has been creating world class architecture, and how many quality built projects she has to her credit.

the UNStudio pick is interesting because it's a male/female partnership (as was VSBA when Venturi won).

and don't count Eisenman out yet. he may still get his (City of Culture project in Santiago de Compostela, among other reasons)...

Jan 28, 09 5:42 pm  · 
Carl Douglas (agfa8x)

but sejima worked for ito, and you could argue that there's a lot of ito in sejima's work.

Jan 28, 09 6:00 pm  · 

i have no idea about pritzker, but if comparing ito to sejima, ito is much much more progressive than sejima. sejima has made some very good buildings (well, two anyway) but her work is more about refinement of themes long ago decided upon and seldom about re-thinking structure/culture/etc. i have a lot of respect for her and ryue, but toyo consistently impresses me with willingness to push himself.

Jan 28, 09 6:46 pm  · 

put me down on record: ito wins. period.

now, i'd love to see zumthor win, but he probably needs one more really significant building to be completed. put him down for 2011.

Jan 28, 09 7:05 pm  · 

2009 - Holl
2010 - Zumthor
2011 - Ito
2012 - UnStudio
2013 - Eisenman??

Jan 28, 09 7:51 pm  · 

i like that list ok, techno.

Jan 28, 09 9:02 pm  · 

as successful of a year as zumthor had last year, i would be shocked if he didn't win.

i dunno if i really think holl will.

ito, sanaa, shigeru ban and perrault are probably next in line.

in fact who is the next american after holl?

eisenman - no consistent signifcant contributions
libeskind - no

arthur erickson - no
coop - slim to no
tschumi - no
botta - no
calatrava - no
chipperfield - no
hertzberger - slim to no

adjaye - too soon

Jan 29, 09 12:44 am  · 
brian buchalski

adjaye too soon? they said the same thing a about certain us president too

but i agree with the sentiment about holl, after him it might be a while before another american seems worthy

i'm kind of expecting a bit of a surprise this year. the pritzker seems to like to throw a little curveball (murcutt, utzorn, etc) every few years and the past few winners have been rather predictable (nouvel, rogers). it could very well be someone we don't expect this time around.

Jan 29, 09 10:40 am  · 

doesn't the winner have to be influential? i thought adjaye is admired more than inspiring or influential...?

Jan 29, 09 10:50 am  · 

The global financial market. Or the Bilbao effect. Few other things have been as influential in the last ten years.

(I am all for anthropomorphic views of abstract concepts.)

Jan 29, 09 11:04 am  · 

i never understood why steven holl hadn't yet won the pritzker prize.
definately over a couple of the recent ones...
conspiracally thinking, i thought it might have been something political.

i really think he deserves it though.

Jan 30, 09 1:56 am  · 

i don't think murcutt was a curveball by any means. i think of murcutt and zumthor in the same way i do of fehn.

it's not that i think holl is terrible. i oscillate between living and hating him, and would kill for the oppurtunity to work there, but i know i'm not that caliber.

i think holl's work borders on the obscure for obfuscation's sake.

holl's projects are hit or miss.

st ignatius - incredible
bellevue art museum - profilit yay, but the rest is awkward

i think his institutional projects early on were clumsy, but will say the nelson atkins looks stellar.

if anything, it's his inconsistency that holds him back.

Jan 30, 09 2:06 am  · 

The quality of Holl's work depends largely on the design associate who is/was managing it.

Chris McVoy can be difficult to work under, but he produces some great results. He managed the Nelson-Atkins project.

I agree on the Bellevue Museum. But it also occurs to me that Holl's isn't great at dealing with urban sites—he's much better when he has a landscape or geological feature to contend with.

Last point: his work is almost too quirky and gestural to get the Pritzker. The odd thing about most of the architects who have won the Pritzker is that their work could have been designed by someone else. When I see a Koolhaas project, I don't necessarily think it's Koolhaas until I'm told. Same with Ito, Foster, Piano, Rogers, Nouvel....I think it's largely because these architects have so many copyists. It's sometimes difficult to tell Koolhaas from MVRDV, or Ito from Sejima, etc. But it would be hard to copy Holl's very specific gestural style.

Jan 30, 09 12:18 pm  · 

Well he did win the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards so maybe this is a sign?

Jan 30, 09 4:16 pm  · 

In 1987 Eisenman may have deserved a Pritzker. But now? No way.

He simply hasn't lived up to his early promise. He devised a semantic system for himself that became a straightjacket—it's been too rigid and too confining. He can't escape from his own outdated logic.

Also, I don't think Eisenman commands as much respect among international architects as Holl does.

Holl deserves it. He's changed the language of architecture. And (unlike Eisenman) he continues to produce exceptional work. And a few duds, as pointed out. But what architect aside from Zumthor hasn't produced duds.

Jan 30, 09 5:09 pm  · 

zumthor has duds, they just aren't published.

Jan 30, 09 5:44 pm  · 

I'd be interested in seeing a Zumthor dud. I kicked around Chur last year a bit, but only saw a few of his now well known projects.

Any dud examples, or photos?

Jan 30, 09 5:50 pm  · 
Carl Douglas (agfa8x)

agree that holl is too inconsistent. some are great (kafka library is a recent favourite), but others are just big shapechitecture (maybe the MIT dorm building).

Jan 30, 09 5:59 pm  · 

malix community hall
district school churwalden

and a few others in the area south of chur

Jan 30, 09 6:01 pm  · 

holz - i'd love to see some more recent duds. the two you've cited are early projects - my guess is that the community hall probably didn't have much of a budget.

not to totally defend the guy - i really am curious to see the 'non-published' kind of work. sometimes, they can be more interesting than the 'hits'.

Jan 31, 09 4:31 pm  · 

recent duds? i dunno. i've not been paying attention for a while. there are a number of projects that haven't been built, but i doubt those would be duds.

the spittelhof housing in biel-benken (outside basel) was considered by a lot of local architects to be a dud.

the sperrholz and beton haven't aged too well. either.

Jan 31, 09 6:20 pm  · 

And I'd argue that the Malix community center has some interesting details and even interesting siting.


Maybe not a masterpiece, but not bad on the level of this, for instance:

[] not good [/url]

Jan 31, 09 8:40 pm  · 

And I'd argue that the Malix community center has some interesting details and even interesting siting.


Maybe not a masterpiece, but not bad on the level of this, for instance:

not good

Jan 31, 09 8:41 pm  · 

i'm not saying it's awful, just for zumi, it's not as strong as his other work.

though i would have loved to have a school like this:

instead of the windowless abortion i attended high school in.

Jan 31, 09 9:04 pm  · 

give it to peter

don't ever give it to danny

Feb 1, 09 12:29 pm  · 

I cant stand Holl.

Feb 17, 09 12:28 am  · 

it'd be good to offer something more about why you 'can't stand...' wouldn't it, green? maybe you'd talk yourself into understanding how much in his career has made him suited to be a pritzker pick - even if the work is not to your taste.

pritzker has been inconsistent, but they don't seem to be all that much about fashion or taste-making - more about influence, achievement, and the introduction of new topics to the professional dialogue.

Feb 17, 09 7:46 am  · 

Holl is far too inconsistent. Yes, he has done some incredible work, but also some really terrible things. Particularly his recent work in Asia... I remember attending a lecture by him a year or so ago, and what he was presenting was utterly ridiculous.

I'm all for Ito. Most of the interesting ideas that are propelling the practice forward are coming out of Japan, right now. It's the young architects who are redefining the current architectural milieu, even here in the west. Without Ito, there would be no precedent for the work of these architects.

Feb 17, 09 2:34 pm  · 

I think Ito would be a good pick, in all the aspects (influence, achievement, introduction of new topics to the professional dialogue) that Steven Ward lists. I don't see anybody with a more consistently inspiring/ground breaking body of work at this moment. Sanaa still has the aura of a "Ito-light", even though this image is slowly disseminating: most of the ideas from their work are based on ideas in Ito's work, in my opinion.

I could definitely see Zumthor winning it, too: completely going against trends, deliberately keeping his office small to be able to actually devote a lot of time to the projects himself and a very tectonic and sensual approach to structure and skin.

Other than that, I cannot really think of anybody, even though one could consider UN Studio, based on influence and novelty value...

Feb 17, 09 2:43 pm  · 

I'm all for Zumthor:

think zumthor might have a chance this year. Some how the earnestness of his work has a special resonance in this moment of doubt

Right on! Zumthor's work is so beautiful, so conceptually rich, and yet so practical and rational. I like Zumthor, because I think he gets architecture at its most fundamental level. I think architects and architecture have a role to play in social terms and planning, but frankly our record as sociologists and planners isn't always great. Generally, I think, the recent winners have exhibited the sort of architect interested in tectonics, in buildings that are experientially and materially rich, but not necessarily the iconic buildings of the post-Bilbao pre-economic meltdown world. Zumthor is an architect who is also a builder in a sense, whose projects employ often conventional (or at least conventionally inspired) construction techniques in unconventional ways that result in something unpretentious, easily understandable, and essential.

Feb 17, 09 3:49 pm  · 

also, I've never thought too much of the Spittelhof housing just as a matter of personal taste, but that second photo of it makes me think a lot more of it.

Feb 17, 09 3:56 pm  · 
Carl Douglas (agfa8x)

sanaa is great, but it's really an outgrowth of ito's influence, imho.

Feb 17, 09 4:22 pm  · 

I'm a fan of Zumthor, but why would people think Eisenman is a no go because he hasn't built much of significance? What about Hadid?
I don't believe she built more than a handful of stuff and many only interiors?
Personally, I didn't think Hadid was worthy enough, great drawings though!

Feb 17, 09 4:26 pm  · 

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