Posts tagged with "Pritzker Prize":

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Drexel Opens Revamped Venturi Scott-Brown Building in Philadelphia

A few years ago Drexel University embarked on an ambitious plan to convert one of Philadelphia’s iconic postmodern landmarks by Venturi Scott Brown Associates (VSBA) into a new home for the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design. Tonight the University will celebrate the official opening of its new building, dubbed the URBN Center, with a series of performances and demonstrations to showcase student work. Minneapolis-based Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle (MS&R) led the renovation of VSBA’s 3501 Market Street, formally the Institute of Scientific Information, and the adjacent building at 3401 Filbert Street (designed by Bower, Lewis & Thrower). Pritzker-winner Robert Venturi and his wife and partner, Denise Scott Brown, famously called their buildings “decorated sheds,” a phrase intended to reflect a design philosophy that spaces should adapt to a variety of uses—hence, making Drexel's decision to overhaul the interior of 3501 Market in keeping with the architecture duo’s original intent for the building. MS&R re-imagined the vast blank floor plan, but the firm was careful not to meddle with Venturi’s colorful mosaic facade. The firm radically changed the 140,000-square-foot facility—creating a dynamic maze of stairways and beams that spill into a number of different work spaces that house a music recording studio, a video game design lab, a printing studio, and a television broadcast production facility. Richard A. Hayne, a member of the board of trustees and the CEO of the Philadelphia-based brand Urban Outfitters, donated $25 million to Drexel to buy the building. The university raised the remaining $47 million to fund construction costs.
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Toyo Ito Named 2013 Pritzker Laureate

The jurors of the Pritzker Architecture Prize have named Toyo Ito the 2013 laureate. Tokyo-based Ito has long been regarded as one of architecture's most inventive minds, and he has produced a large and diverse body of work that pushes the limits of technology, materials, structure, and form. His buildings often express a joyful or poetic sensibility, and yet he seems to approach architecture anew with each project. This knack for reinvention and lack of a signature style accounts, perhaps, for the somewhat lower name recognition he has than some of his peers, all while he routinely creates spectacular and unexpected works of architecture. Demonstrating an early interest in technology, Ito first named his firm Urban Robot when he founded it in 1971. He changed his firm's name to Toyo Ito & Associates in 1979. He began designing houses in a minimalist vocabulary, often using lightweight structures or unexpected materials. In the mid-eighties he designed a project that used technology to respond to weather conditions, while also providing a counterpoint to commercial signage nearby. The Tower of the Winds, a cylindrical structure ringed with lights, responded the speed of wind gusts through a changing lighting pattern. Arguably his best known project is the Sendai Mediatheque, in Miyagi Japan, completed in 2000, which used an system of structural tubes to support the building, creating new circulation and mechanical pathways through the highly transparent building. His 2002 pavilion for the Serpentine Gallery in London deployed a fragmented geometry to create a rectilinear structure out of a cubist interplay of intersecting lines, solids, and voids. In 2004 he used a somewhat similar vocabulary to create a concrete exoskeleton for a flagship TOD'S store in Tokyo, though the pattern of concrete there evokes crisscrossing tree branches. More recent projects include the Tama University Art Library, also in Tokyo, which, with its layering of concrete arches of varying scales, is a kind of Japanese twist on Philip Johnson's "Ballet Modernism," and the reptilian-skinned stadium he designed for the 2009 World Games in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Ito is the sixth Japanese architect to win the Pritzker, the highest honor in the discipline of architecture. He will receive the award at a ceremony at the I.M. Pei-designed John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston on May 29.
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Breaking> Chinese Architect Wang Shu Awarded Pritzker Prize

Chinese architect Wang Shu has been named the 2012 Pritzker Architecture Prize laureate, marking the first time a Chinese architect has been honored prize which brings a bronze medal and $100,000 purse. Wang Shu is known for building with traditional Chinese forms and materials, often recycling bricks and tiles to form a patchwork mosaic in his buildings, which demonstrate a distinct modern sensibility. He is professor and head of architecture at the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou, China and founded Amateur Architecture Studio with Lu Wenyu in 1998 where he has taken an outspoken stance against architecture that he perceives as destroying vast urban and rural landscapes across China. Amateur Architecture Studio derives its name from the traditional building practices of the amateur Chinese builders who have crafted cities for centuries. He spent years learning from these craftsman and brought back the traditional building techniques to mix with his experimental and site-specific practice at Amateur Architecture Studio. “The fact that an architect from China has been selected by the jury, represents a significant step in acknowledging the role that China will play in the development of architectural ideals," said Thomas J. Pritzker, chairma n of the Hyatt Foundation which sponsors the prize. "In addition, over the coming decades China’s success at urbanization will be important to China and to the world. This urbanization, like urbanization around the world, needs to be in harmony with local needs and culture. China’s unprecedented opportunities for urban planning and design will want to be in harmony with both its long and unique traditions of the past and with its future needs for sustainable development.” Wang Shu has previously been awarded the Gold Prize from the French Architectural Academy in 2011, the Schelling Architecture Prize in 2010, and the Holcim Award for Sustainable Construction in 2005. He also received a Special Honor at the 2010 Venice Biennale and was the Kenzo Tange professor at the Harvard GSD, which has previously been held by Alvaro Siza, Peter Zumthor, and Raphael Moneo among others. He delivered the Tange lecture at Harvard last November titled "Geometry and Narrative in Natural Form," which you can watch below. The formal awards ceremony for the Pritzker Prize will take place in Beijing on May 25.
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Quick Clicks> Brick Bane, Old School, The Digitals, & the Juried Judge

Not so Clean. White brick buildings, once favored in the 50s and 60s for their shiny glaze and supposed waterproofing and self-cleaning benefits, are now a costly headache for New York City, reported the NY Times. The glaze, it turns out, actually traps moisture and causes cracks and deterioration, with repairs climbing into the millions of dollars. Back to Basics. While architects nowadays can get away with their shaky doodles (of the physically impossible buildings and cartoonish people with disproportionate heads) as long as they prove their CAD proficiency, the just-launched Beaux-Arts Atelier feels differently-- only when you master the basics can you be freer to do crazier, modern things with more creative control. More on The Wall Street Journal. The Digitals.  Architecture historian and journalist critic Alexandra Lange critically compares the content and design of four new digital interior design magazines and discusses the merits of blogs. Read her thoughts on Arch Record. Juried Judge. The NY Times ran a story about Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer's selection to join the Pritzker Prize jury, citing AN's report from September. The move looks to be a good one for architecture, as Breyer, a fan of Gothic and Beaux-Arts architecture, has pushed for better design of federal buildings.

Obama on Souto de Moura

Last night President Obama spoke at the ceremony for this year's Pritzker Prize winner, Eduardo Souto de Moura. He invoked Thomas Jefferson, the architectural glories of Chicago, and praised Souto de Moura's work for balancing "form and function with artistry and accessibility." Obama is close to the Pritzker family, and Penny Pritzker was one of the most significant fundraisers for his campaign. Still it is nice to see the White House bringing some attention to the "Nobel Prize of architecture." Check out our recent interview and comment on Souto de Moura.
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Quick Clicks> Tweeting Seat, Frankly No, Presidential Pritzker, and a Safdie Play

Tweeting Seat. Imagine if the public realm was able to reach out digitally and interact through the internet. Yanko Design spotted just such a bench by designer Christopher McNicholl which tweets about people sitting on the aptly-named @TweetingSeat. Two cameras -- one watching the bench and one looking outward -- continuously let curious people all over the world who is taking a break. Second in Line. The Wall Street Journal spoke with an anonymous philanthropist and architecture fan from Iowa who is looking for the world's second most famous architect. According to the story, the donor is willing to pony up $300 million to any city that does not hire Frank Gehry to design its art museum. "Don't get me wrong, I like iconoclastic, swoopy structures that look like bashed-in sardine cans as much as the next guy... I'm just saying we should give an architect not named Frank Gehry a chance." Ouch. Presidential Pritzker. Blair Kamin reports that President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will be in attendance at the Pritzker Prize award dinner for Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura. It's the first time a president sat in on the ceremonies since the Clintons dined with Renzo Piano in 1998. Also check out AN's exclusive Commentary and Q+A with Souto de Moura. Safdie's False Solution. Oren Safdie, playwright and son of architect Moshie Safdie, is making progress on the third part of his trilogy of architecture-themed plays and will be conducting a reading this evening in LA. A False Solution tells the story of of a Jewish-German architect whose resolve is shaken by a young intern after winning a Holocaust museum in Poland. (Via ArchNewsNow.)
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Eduardo Souto de Moura Wins 2011 Pritzker Prize (Updated)

Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura has won the 2011 Pritzker Prize, according to several reports. The Porto-based architect worked for the country's other Pritzker winner, Alvaro Siza, but has had a prolific career on his own since opening his office in 1980. Not widely known outside Portugal, Souto de Moura designed the new stadium in Braga in 2004, which, like much of his work, has strong, highly legible forms. There he blasted granite from the site that was later crushed to make concrete for the building. "During the past three decades, Eduardo Souto de Moura has produced a body of work that is of our time but also carries echoes of architectural traditions," jury chair Lord Palumbo said in a statement. "His buildings have the unique ability to convey seemingly conflicting characteristics--power and modesty, bravado and subtlety, both public authority and a sense of intimacy--at the same time."  
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Fumihiko Maki Named AIA Gold Medal Winner

    Fumihiko Maki was named AIA’s 2011 Gold Medal winner last Thursday, making him the 67th in that illustrious line. Maki began his career in the 1960s as a part of the group of Japanese architects known as the Metabolists who championed large biomorphic structures that could expand and change as needed. His more recent designs, such as the new Media Lab at MIT, present a decidedly fixed composition, though MIT retains the suggestion of interchangeable volumes. The concept did find its way into Maki’s thoroughly adaptable interior, as was noted during a walk-through by AN last spring. The Harvard educated architect spends much of his time in Tokyo where his firm, Maki and Associates, has been based for the past 45 years. Here in New York, his trapezoidal design for the 64-story Four World Trade Center will add an additional 1.8 million square feet of office space to the site, a third of which is expected to become the new Port Authority headquarters. Maki is already the recipient of numerous awards, including the Pritzker, The Chicago Architecture Award, The Prince of Wales Prize and the UIA Gold, to name but a few. He will receive the honor next May at the 2011 AIA National Convention in New Orleans.
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DJ Thommy Mayne and the Pritzker-Making Hits

Widely accepted as the greatest public radio station on the planet, KCRW is famous for its groundbreaking music played by DJs who are smarter, cooler and infinitely better dressers than you. But last week was a bitter one for LA as the station's great Nic Harcourt hung up his headphones as music director. For those of you who are already missing Harcourt's esoteric taste (sometimes a bit difficult to take at 9:03am even after a visit to Intelligensia), never fear: Thom Mayne has stepped into the booth. You heard that right: As part of KCRW's Guest DJ Project, Mayne picked five songs that have inspired him throughout his life. Paired with former music director Tom Schnabel, Mayne sported his usual maniacal grin and a gleam in his eye (above) as he took to the turntable, admitting that on some occasions, he allowed music to help him design: "There’s actually times when I was drawing, closing my eyes, when I have a sketch book where I was moving my hand rhythmically and shaping it and literally trying to shape drawings that were coming directly from various types of music." You can hear the whole set at, but go ahead and rev up your iPod now, because here's what he played: 1.) Dr. John - Right Place, Wrong Time 2.) John Lurie (as Marvin Pontiac) - Runnin' Round 3.) Stevie Ray Vaughn - Texas Flood 4.) Laurie Anderson - Big Science 5.) Prince - Musicology We have to admit we love Mayne's taste in music, which left a dirty Texas BBQ flavor with a sprinkle of bad 80's hair in our mouths. And at least now we can forgive Mayne for the shortcomings of the Caltrans Building: It's clearly not his fault, seeing as he designed it while under the influence of what is easily the worst Prince song in existence. With the possible exception of "Diamonds and Pearls."