17 Amazing Facts about the Pritzker Architecture Prize

Archi Facts Dated:  Sept. 24, 2015
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One side of the medallion, Source: htekidsnews.com

'The Pritzker Architecture Prize' is the highest degree of honor in the field of Architecture. It may be considered equivalent to the Nobel Prize if one for Architecture ever existed!

All of us have always been curious to know about the unknown procedures and interesting hidden facts behind it. May be, these facts could help you reach THERE one fine day!

(Note: A dissertation by Abhiram Sharam also helped this compilation)

1. The Pritzker prize, founded by Jay and Cindy Pritzker, is not conferred on an Architect for any specific project, but for his/her overall contribution to the field of Architecture.

Jay and Cindy PritzkerJay and Cindy Pritzker
Source: https://www.pritzkerprize.com/about/history

2. The 1st Pritzker prize was awarded to Philip Johnson in 1979 and till 2015, 38 Architects around the globe have received the honor.

Philip JohnsonAn old photograph of Philip Johnson
Source: https://www.wttw.com/main.taf?p=88,5

3. An e-mail to the Executive Director mentioning the nominee's name and contact information will suffice for your nomination, as they are accepted from all the countries.

4. Not all nominations which are accepted through November 1st result in the award. So, they are automatically carried over to the following year.

5. The declaration of the prize is always on the 31st of March, every year.

6. A study says, of all the laureates till now, 6% are from South America, 13% from Asia, 28% from North America and 53% from Europe.'

politics of the pritzker

7. The average age of a Pritzker laureate is 63 (62.97 to be specific) and this clearly proves that Architects are late bloomers!


8. 'Museums' are the most common typology of buildings designed by the laureates till now.

Guggenheim museumGuggenheim museum designed by Frank Lloyd Wright
Source: https://www.inexhibit.com/case-studies/the-guggenheim-museum-an-american-revolution/

9. None of the architects had ever built anything that looked 'classical' or 'traditional.' 
(Except Aldo Rossi, whose is in borderline)

10. It has a relatively constant jury, that does not change every year. So, before deciding upon the winner, the jury members travel around the world to get more insight on the buildings designed by the nominees.

11. The third Indian to be on the jury panel of the prize includes Ratan Tata (2013-till present) who is an Architect by qualification. The other two Indians include architects- Charles Correa and BV Doshi.

Ratan TataRatan Tata

12. While the award ceremony of the Nobel prize is always in Stockholm since 1927, the Pritzker presentation ceremonies move around the world, paying homage to the previous-era-architecture or the works by previous laureates of the prize.

13. The awards:
From 1979 to 1986- $100,000, a formal citation certificate, a limited edition of Henry Moore sculpture.
From 1987 till present- $100,000, a formal citation certificate and a bronze medallion.

14. The bronze medallion is based on the designs of the architect Louis Sullivan (The Father of Skyscrapers)

15. Bronze medallion:
One side: Name of the prize
Other side: Three words are inscribed- 'firmness, commodity and delight', which according to the Roman Architect Vitruvius, are the fundamental principles of Architecture.

One side of the medallionOne side of the medallion
Source: https://htekidsnews.com/top-architecture-prize/

16. In 2009, when Peter Zumthor won the prize, his acceptance speech included-
“When I like it, you will like it, too, because I 'm not special.”

Peter ZumthorPeter Zumthor receiving the prize
Image source: https://www.pritzkerprize.com/2009/ceremony_images

17. The United States President, Barack Obama gave his ceremony speech at Washington DC in 2011, when Eduardo Souto de Moura was conferred the prize.

Barack Obama with Lady Michelle ObamaBarack Obama giving his ceremony speech
Source: https://www.pritzkerprize.com/2011/ceremony_imagesa
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