David Chipperfield is the winner of the 2023 Pritzker Architecture Prize, the most prestigious international award in the sector and often described as the Nobel Prize for architecture. The Hyatt Foundation has awarded the Pritzker Prize annually since 1979 to architects “whose built work demonstrates a combination of those qualities of talent, vision, and commitment, which has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture.”
Born in London in 1953, Sir David Alan Chipperfield is the third British recipient of the Pritzker Prize after Norman Foster in 1999 and the late Richard Rogers in 2007. Although known in particular for his work with museums and restoration projects, Chipperfield has completed more than a hundred projects of all types during his 40-year career. These range from homes to retail and public buildings, and urban masterplans throughout Asia, Europe, and North America.
His work is distinguished by an approach that’s elegant and subdued, but also decisive and radical. It’s built on a respect for the history and culture of the context, and an ability to work with existing heritage, improving functionality and accessibility through, as the jury put it, “timeless modern design that confronts climate urgencies, transforms social relationships, and reinvigorates cities.”
The 2023 Pritzker Prize ceremony will be held in May in Athens, where Chipperfield recently won the competition to expand the National Archaeological Museum. The famous bronze medal to be presented to the architect is engraved with Vitruvius’ three fundamental principles of architecture: firmitas (firmness), utilitas (commodity), and venustas (delight).
Architect, urban planner, and activist, David Chipperfield graduated from the Architectural Association School of Architecture of London in 1980, beginning his career at the studios of Foster and Rogers. In 1985, he founded David Chipperfield Architects in London, which today also has offices in Berlin, Milan, Shanghai, and Santiago de Compostela.
His first major work was the River and Rowing Museum in Henley-on-Thames, which opened in 1998. His most significant works include the reconstruction of the Neues Museum in Berlin (2009), which was destroyed in the WWII bombings, and the James-Simon-Galerie, a new construction that forms the entrance building for the German capital’s Museum Island. More recently, in Italy he restored the Procuratie Vecchie in Piazza San Marco, Venice, which was reopened to the public last spring after 500 years. Other significant projects include the America’s Cup Building “Veles e Vents” in Valencia (2006), intended to host the teams and sponsors of the event; the restoration and expansion of Morland Mixité Capitale in Paris (2022); the Amorepacific headquarters in Seoul (2017); and the Inagawa Cemetery Chapel and Visitor Center in Hyogo, Japan.
Other notable works include BBC Scotland headquarters (Glasgow, 2007), Turner Contemporary (Margate, UK, 2011), Campus Saint Louis Art Museum (Missouri, 2013), Campus Joachimstraße (Berlin, 2013), Museo Jumex (Mexico City, 2013), One Pancras Square (London, 2013), Royal Academy of Arts masterplan (London, 2018), Hoxton Press (London, 2018), and Kunsthaus Zürich (Zurich, 2020).
Chipperfield won the Stirling Prize in 2007, was knighted in 2010, and awarded the Royal Gold Medal in 2011. A year later, he curated Venice’s Biennale Architettura.
The Pritzker Prize Jury statement reads:
"This commitment to an architecture of understated but transformative civic presence and the definition — even through private commissions — of the public realm, is done always with austerity, avoiding unnecessary moves and steering clear of trends and fashions, all of which is a most relevant message to our contemporary society. Such a capacity to distil and perform meditated design operations is a dimension of sustainability that has not been obvious in recent years: sustainability as pertinence, not only eliminates the superfluous but is also the first step to creating structures able to last, physically and culturally".
Alejandro Aravena, Jury Chair and 2016 Pritzker Prize Laureate, elaborates,
“In a world where many architects view a commission as an opportunity to add to their own portfolio, he responds to each project with specific tools that he has selected with preciseness and great care. Sometimes it requires a gesture that is strong and monumental, while other times, it requires him to almost disappear. But his buildings will always stand the test of time because the ultimate goal of his operation is to serve the greater good. The avoidance of what’s fashionable has allowed him to remain permanent”.
Please refer to the individual images in the gallery to look through the photo credits