Architect Jean Nouvel of Paris, France, has been selected as the 2008 Laureate of the Pritzker Architecture Prize. He will receive the bronze medallion and a $100,000 grant in a ceremony on June 2, 2008, at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.
Nouvel first garnered international notice in 1987 with the completion of his L'Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, and in the years since he has designed hundreds of projects in France and numerous other countries around the world, including the in-progress 75-story Tour de Verre in New York City.
Jury members praised Nouvel for courageously pursuing new ideas and challenging accepted norms to stretch the boundaries of architecture. They also cited his abundant "persistence, imagination, exuberance, and ... insatiable urge for creative experimentation."
The 2008 Pritzker Prize jury was comprised of chairman Lord Palumbo; Shigeru Ban, architect and professor at Keio University, Tokyo, Japan; Rolf Fehlbaum, chairman of the board of Vitra. Basel, Switzerland; Carlos Jimenez, professor, Rice University School of Architecture, and principal, Carlos Jimenez Studio, Houston; Victoria Newhouse, architectural historian and author, founder, and director of the Architectural History Foundation, New York City; Renzo Piano, architect and 1998 Pritzker Laureate; and Karen Stein, a writer, editor, and architectural consultant in New York City. Martha Thorne, former curator of architecture at the Art Institute of Chicago, is executive director.
In a statement given in the prize announcement, Nouvel said, "My interest has always been in an architecture which reflects the modernity of our epoch, as opposed to the rethinking of historical references. My work deals with what is happening now—our techniques and materials, what we are capable of doing today."
The Pritzker Architecture Prize was established in 1979 by the Pritzker family's Hyatt Foundation to honor each year a living architect who has contributed to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture. The family's interest in architecture and its effect on people was fueled by their experiences in developing Hyatt hotels around the world. Procedures for the prize were modeled after the Nobels.
On June 3, after receiving the Pritzker Prize, Nouvel will present his work at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., as part of the museum's Spotlight on Design lecture series. The lecture is open to the public, but prepaid registration is required. Visit www.nbm.org for times, ticket prices, and registration details.