The most important architectural award in the world: The Pritzker Prize

The most important architectural award in the world: The Pritzker Prize

For more than 30 years, there has been an architecture prize given to the most important architects in the world: The Pritzker Prize. This honor was created by Jay and Cindy Pritzker, who were part of the Pritzker family, one of the most significant families in Chicago and the founders of the Hyatt Hotels, one of the biggest and largest hotels chains in the world.

Presently, The Pritzker Prize is considered the most significant award of architecture in the world, being also known as the Nobel prize of architecture. This is an annual award, which recognizes the work and talent of a living architect from any country. This honor is sponsored by the Hyatt Foundation, giving to the winner $ 100.000 dollars.

The Pritzker family

They are considered one of the richest and more influential families in the United States. Currently, the Pritzker are the owners of the Hyatt hotel Chain, the Royal Caribbean cruisers and the Transunion credit bureau. They also founded the Superior Bank of Chicago, which collapsed in 2001 and the Marmon Group, which was sold to Berkshire Hathaway, one of the biggest corporations on the planet.

The Pritzker family has been a very important part of Chicago and the United States along the history, not only for their businesses but also for their philanthropic labors. Among its contributions is the Pritzker School of Medicine, founded in 1927, the Pritzker School of Law, established in 1859, the Jay Pritzker Pavilion at Chicago’s Millennium Park, and the Pritzker Military Museum & Library founded in 2003.

One of the most important members of this family was Jay Pritzker, who co-founded the Hyatt hotels chain and created the Pritzker Prize in 1979. During his career, Jay established great organizations and companies, but also worked for the community through multiple philanthropic actions, letting a great legacy after his death in 1999.

Image courtesy of abductit at Flickr.com

The Pritzker Prize

As it was mentioned above, this prize is an international award for architects from every country, who have shown a great combination of creativity, talent, and commitment to the society through their architectural work. In other words, the Pritzker Prize is an annual recognition for those architects who demonstrate through their works the commitment with people around the world.

Since 1979, this prize has honored more than 30 architects from multiple countries, like the United States, Germany, Japan, Chile, China, France, Mexico, Italy, Spain, Brazil, among other nations.

Some of the Pritzker Prize winners

Philip Johnson

He was the first architect to receive the Pritzker Prize in 1979. Johnson was an American architect recognized for being the creator of works like Tycon Tower in Virginia, the United Bank Tower in Denver, the Civic Center in Illinois, and the Bonavena Center in Caracas, Venezuela.

Besides these works, Johnson designed the PPG Place in Downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which is an astonishing glass building, formed by more than 19.000 crystal panels. This building has 40 levels and its construction cost more than $200 million dollars. Another amazing work of Johnson was the Glass Cathedral, located in California. This church is considered the largest glass building in the world and can seat more than 2000 people inside it. The Gate of Europe is another significant work of this architect. It is located in Madrid, Spain and is considered the second tallest twin towers in this country with more than 100 meters of height.

Rem Koolhaas

Rem was born in Rotterdam, Netherlands and is considered one of the most important architects in this country and Europe. In 2000 he was awarded the Pritzker Prize. Some of his most important works are the Netherlands Dance Theater in La Hague, the Dall’Ava Villa in Paris, the Casa da Musica in Porto, Portugal, the CCTV HQ in Beijing, China or the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow, Russia.

Koolhaas also designed the Kunsthal in 1992, which is an important art museum located in Rotterdam, presenting artworks from great painters like Claude Monet, Paul Gauguin or Jacob Meijer de Haan. Another significant work of Rem is Guggenheim Hermitage Museum, which was located in The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino in Las Vegas. This museum opened for almost seven years, showing artwork from Velasquez, Vincent van Gogh, Picasso, among another artist. Koolhaas also designed the Embassy of Netherlands building in Berlin on 2004.

Alejandro Aravena

He is from Chile and is the current winner of the Pritzker Prize. Aravena is the only Chilean who won this honor. He has been a visiting professor at Harvard University and at the Catholic University of Chile. Besides his Pritzker Prize, Aravena has won the Silver Lion at Venice, the Erich Schelling Architecture Medal, and the Iakov Chernikhov prize. Among his work is the School of Medicine building at the University of Chile, the Twin Towers in the Catholic University of Chile, the Residence building in the St. Edward’s University, and the Aurelia Rojas Burgos building in Santiago de Chile.

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