Handicapping the Pritzker Prize, 2009 EditionPosted: 23 March 2009
One of my favorite days of the year is coming, when we find out which living architect will be awarded the career-making Pritzker Prize, often called “the Nobel Prize of architecture,” for calendar year 2009. The winner will be announced on April 12th, so I’ve decided to set some odds for a selection of annual (and not so annual) favorites for the coveted prize. Past juries have selected a few long shots (most recently the Brazilian Paolo Mendes da Rocha in 2006), but it’s likely these candidates will be under consideration. Please place your bets in the comment board.
5:1 — David Chipperfield (British, b. 1953)
Chipperfield has been on a hot streak of late, having won the 2007 RIBA Stirling Prize for the Museum of Modern Literature in Germany (his America’s Cup building in Valencia, Spain was also on the shortlist). He has also just completed major portions of the Museum Island redevelopment in Berlin that he has masterminded since 2001. At 55, he’s a bit young, but past juries have rewarded those whose careers are gaining momentum.
7:1 — Steven Holl (American, b. 1947)
It seems ridiculous that Holl has yet to collect a Pritzker. With his practice consistently growing worldwide and his acclaim not far behind, Holl would seem a deserving candidate. He will finish his largest building to date in 2009, the Linked Hybrid in Beijing, and has recently won several international competitions. Holl has many well-received buildings to his credit and a Pritzker could send him over the top in terms of exposure.
7:1 — Wolf Prix (Austrian, b. 1946) of Coop Himmelb(l)au
On the eve of a major exhibition of their work at Columbus’ Wexner Center, don’t count out Coop’s partner. Their Wolfsburg center for BMW was a major hit, even if the Akron Art Museum wasn’t.
10:1 — Peter Eisenman (American, b. 1932)
It seems that if they were going to give it to ol’ Peter, they would have done so already, but this might be the year. His magnum opus, the City of Culture in Santiago, Spain is nearing completion, and he also published a well-received book (Ten Canonical Buildings) in 2008. He might just win this thing yet!
10:1 — Kazuyo Sejima (Japanese, b. 1956) and Ryue Nishizawa (Japanese, b. 1963) of SANAA
SANAA may never have another year like 2007, in which their first two American buildings (the New Museum in New York and Glass Pavilion in Toledo) opened to much acclaim, but their practice continues to get larger commissions and deliver for their clients with quiet grace.
12:1 — Peter Zumthor (Swiss, b. 1943)
Often called “the architect’s architect,” Zumthor works so slowly that it’s a major event when he completes a building. He has finished two fabulous ones in the past two years: the Bruder Klaus Chapel in rural Germany, and the Kolumba museum in Cologne, yielding a huge amount of momentum given his plodding output.
15:1 — Toyo Ito (Japanese, b. 1941)
Ito has been quiet for the past couple years, but he has some major works under construction at the moment and he’s always been popular with the architecture establishment. Not many would argue his selection.
15:1 — Ben Van Berkel (Dutch, b. 1957) of UN Studio
The completion of the Mercedes-Benz Museum has brought Van Berkel and his partner Caroline Bos much recognition, but the momentum in terms of built work is yet to come. Watch out for Ben a couple years from now, but don’t count him out this year either.
20:1 — Massimiliano Fuksas (Italian, b. 1944)
Fuksas is a bit of a dark horse, but he has been on a roll since the completion of the Milan Expo complex in 2006. He exhibited at the recent Venice Biennale and has just completed an ambitious showroom for Giorgio Armani in New York.
20:1 — Daniel Libeskind (Polish/American, b. 1946)
He has just completed the Jewish Museum of San Francisco and major developments in Denver and Newport, Kentucky. The round of projects commissioned after he won the Ground Zero masterplan are coming due, so look for his chances to grow in the coming years.
30:1 — Greg Lynn (American, b. 1964)
Don’t count out the prophet of digitalia. He finished 2008 strong, winning the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale and publishing a successful monograph with Rizzoli.