March 29, 2010 in Nation/World

Japanese architects win Pritzker

Jacob Adelman Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

This image provided by SANAA shows the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, designed by the Pritzker winners.
(Full-size photo)(All photos)

LOS ANGELES – Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, a duo of Japanese architects praised for using everyday building materials to create ethereal structures that shelter flowing, dreamlike spaces, have won the 2010 Pritzker Architecture Prize, the prize’s jury announced Sunday.

Sejima, 54, and Nishizawa, 44, join Frank Gehry, Rem Koolhaas and Renzo Piano in receiving the top honor in the field in recognition of the art museums, university buildings and designer-label fashion boutiques they have designed in Japan, the United States and Europe.

“We want to make architecture that people like to use,” said Sejima, who likened the pair’s structures to public plazas, where visitors can roam freely in groups or find comfortable spots to spend time on their own. “The jury somehow appreciated our way of making architecture.”

The Pritzker jury of architects, academics, writers and designers praised Sejima and Nishizawa for designing structures that blend into their surroundings to provide unassuming backdrops for the activities occurring in their midst.

The formal Pritzker ceremony will be held in May on Ellis Island. Sejima and Nishizawa will receive a $100,000 grant and a pair of bronze medallions.

In their citation, the Pritzker jury also named the pair’s New Museum of Contemporary Art, a midrise stack of unevenly sized, white metal blocks that sit atop a transparent glass base on a scruffy street in New York’s lower east side.

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