British architect David Chipperfield awarded Pritzker prize

Chipperfield described as an architect ‘radical in his restraint’ as he takes home top industry honour.

David Chipperfield outside the James-Simon-Galerie at Berlin's Museums Island in Germany. He is standing with his arms crossed at the bottom of some white steps. The building is in an elevated position behind him. It is white and flat-roofed with slender white columns.
Pritzker Prize winner David Chipperfield outside the James-Simon-Galerie at the Museums Island, in Berlin, Germany [File: Markus Schreiber/AP Photo]

British architect David Chipperfield has been awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize — the field’s top award — for his understated but transformative designs.

The 69-year-old was honoured for “timeless modern design that confronts climate urgencies, transforms social relationships and reinvigorates cities,” the organisers said in a statement.

Chipperfield has worked on more than 100 projects over four decades ranging from cultural, civic and academic buildings, to urban planning and residences.

“He is a prolific architect who is radical in his restraint,” the organisers said in a statement announcing the 2023 winner, “demonstrating his reverence for history and culture while honouring the preexisting built and natural environments.”

Chipperfield said he was “so overwhelmed” to become the prize’s 52nd laureate.

“I take this award as an encouragement to continue to direct my attention not only to the substance of architecture and its meaning but also to the contribution that we can make as architects to address the existential challenges of climate change and societal inequality,” the statement quoted him as saying.

Based in London, with offices in four other countries, Chipperfield has worked across Europe, Asia and the United States.

He is renowned for renovations and reconstructions of old buildings, updating them for the modern age while honouring their history and culture, and preserving the natural environment.

Among his best is a rebuild of the Neues Museum in Berlin, which was built in the 19th century and largely destroyed in World War II, and the reinvention of a 16th-century Venice landmark, the Procuratie Vecchie, which the Pritzker Prize organisers said “redefined the civic ability of this building within the heart of the city to allow general access for the first time”.

In Asia, it cited Chipperfield’s headquarters for Amorepacific in Seoul, which it said harmonised “the individual and the collective, the private and the public, work and respite,” and the Inagawa Cemetery Chapel and Visitor Centre in Hyogo, Japan, where “the physical and spiritual coexist, with places of solitude and gathering, for peace and seeking”.

Chipperfield was born in London and raised on a farm in Devon, in southwest England, where he has said a collection of barns and outbuildings shaped his early impressions of architecture.

He founded his architecture firm in 1984.

The Pritzker Architecture Prize was established in 1979. Winners receive a $100,000 grant and a bronze medallion.

Previous laureates include IM Pei, Zaha Hadid and Shigeru Ban.

Last year, Burkina Faso-born Diebedo Francis Kere became the first African winner of the prize.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies