The partners of Tokyo-based architecture firm SANAA, Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, have been selected as the 2010 Laureates of the Pritzker Architecture Prize. This year's award marks only the third time two architects have been honored with the prize at the same time, and it is only the second time partners in a practice have received the award.
The Pritzker Architecture Prize, commonly held to be the highest honor in architecture, is awarded each year to a living architect whose body of built work has made consistent and significant contributions to humanity and the built environment and draws on a combination of talent, vision, and commitment. Working as SANAA, Sejima and Nishizawa have completed projects in Germany, Spain, France, England, the Netherlands, and the United States, as well as in Japan. The firm's first project in the U.S., the Glass Pavilion for the Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio, broke ground in 2004, followed by a 2005 groundbreaking for the New Museum of New York City's building at 235 Bowery.
The Pritzker Prize jury selected Sejima and Nishizawa based on their complete body of work, but specifically mentioned their two American projects, in addition to two of their buildings in Japan: the O-Museum in Nagano and the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa. The jury cited the partners' "simultaneously delicate and powerful, precise and fluid, ingenious but not overly or overtly clever" architecture and lauded their "creation of buildings that successfully interact with their contexts and the activities they contain, creating a sense of fullness and experiential richness."
Sejima and Nishizawa will be awarded a $100,000 grant and bronze medallions during a formal ceremony on May 17 on Ellis Island in New York.
For more details on the 2010 Pritzker Architecture Prize winners, their work, and the jury's citation, visit www.pritzkerprize.com.