Japanese architect Riken Yamamoto wins the Pritzker Prize

(New York) The Pritzker Prize, the world’s highest distinction in architecture, was awarded Tuesday to the Japanese Riken Yamamoto, renowned for his “reassuring” work combining architecture and social and societal concerns, announced the organization based in Chicago.

“Riken Yamamoto, architect and social activist” works towards “harmonious societies despite the diversity of identities, economies, politics, infrastructure and housing”, welcomed in a press release the organizers of the Pritzker Prize, often described as the “Nobel Prize” of architecture.

“For me, recognizing (the existence of a) space is a recognition of an entire community,” declared in the press release the winner born in 1945 in Beijing and who had emigrated to his country, to Yokohama in Japan, after the Second World War.

“The current approach to architecture emphasizes privacy while denying the need for social relationships. We can, however, continue to respect the freedom of each individual while living together in an architectural space, like a Republic that forges harmony between cultures and stages of life,” argued Mr. Yamamoto, quoted by the organizers. of the Pritzker Prize.

Architecture and democracy

Riken Yamamoto was chosen “firstly because he reminds us that in matters of architecture, as in democracy, spaces must be created by the determination of populations”, decided the jury of the prestigious award cited in a another press release.


Koyasu Elementary School, by Riken Yamamoto, in Yokohama, Japan.

“His architecture clearly expresses his faith in modular structures and the simplicity of its forms. It does not dictate anything, but allows people to shape their lives in real estate complexes with elegance, normality, poetry and joy,” the jurors further argued.

For the Chilean Alejandro Aravena, president of the 2024 jury and 2016 winner of the Pritzker Prize, “one of the things we will need most in the future in cities is to create the conditions through architecture to multiply opportunities that people meet and exchange.”

The Japanese architect is known for his housing and public building projects – schools, libraries, municipal service buildings – whose design aims to promote conviviality and social interactions, where, Mr. Aravena emphasized, “the border between the public space and the private sphere merge.

At 78, Yamamoto “is a reassuring architect who brings dignity to daily life. (When) the ordinary becomes extraordinary, (when) calm leads to splendor,” the Chilean architect rejoiced.

The majority of Yamamoto’s works and architectural ensembles can be found in Japan (Yokosuka Art Museum dating from 2006), but also in China (Tianjin Library in 2012) and in Switzerland (Circle district at Zurich airport in 2020).

The ninth Japanese architect to be crowned, Riken Yamamoto succeeds the British David Chipperfield in 2023 who was rewarded after the Burkinabè architect Diébédo Francis Kéré, the first representative of an African country to receive the prestigious prize.

reference: www.lapresse.ca

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