The 2023 Pritzker Architecture Prize winner: Sir David Alan Chipperfield CH

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Civic architect, urban planner and activist, Sir David Alan Chipperfield CH has been selected as
the 2023 Laureate of The Pritzker Architecture Prize, the award that is regarded internationally as
architecture’s highest honor.

Subtle yet powerful, subdued yet elegant, he is a prolific architect who is radical in his restraint,
demonstrating his reverence for history and culture while honoring the preexisting built and natural
environments, as he reimagines functionality and accessibility of new buildings, renovations and
restorations through timeless modern design that confronts climate urgencies, transforms social
relationships and reinvigorates cities.

“I am so overwhelmed to receive this extraordinary honour and to be associated with the previous
recipients who have all given so much inspiration to the profession,” remarks Chipperfield. “I take
this award as an encouragement to continue to direct my attention not only to the substance of
architecture and its meaning but also to the contribution that we can make as architects to address
the existential challenges of climate change and societal inequality. We know that, as architects, we
can have a more prominent and engaged role in creating not only a more beautiful world but a fairer
and more sustainable one too. We must rise to this challenge and help inspire the next generation to
embrace this responsibility with vision and courage.” His built works, spanning over four decades, are expansive in typology and geography, including over one hundred works ranging from civic, cultural and academic buildings to residences and urban masterplanning throughout Asia, Europe and North America.

The 2023 Jury Citation of the Laureate, states, in part, “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 distill 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.”

Chipperfield calculates the environmental and historical impacts of permanence, embracing the
preexisting, designing and intervening in dialogue with time and place to adopt and refresh the
architectural language of each locale. James-Simon-Galerie (Berlin, Germany, 2018) situated on a
narrow island along the Kupfergraben canal and accessible by the Schlossbrücke bridge, serves as
the gateway to Museum Island. Commanding, though discreet, colonnades with grand scale enclose
a terrace, a wide expansive staircase and a manifold of open spaces allow abundant light into the
large entryway of the building. The design enables generous views from within and beyond, even
through to adjacent buildings and the surrounding urban landscape.

“He is assured without hubris, consistently avoiding trendiness to confront and sustain the
connections between tradition and innovation, serving history and humanity,” comments Tom
Pritzker, Chairman of the Hyatt Foundation, which sponsors the award. “While his works are
elegantly masterful, he measures the achievements of his designs by social and environmental
welfare to enhance the quality of life for all of civilization.”

In renovative works, his precision is imbued with historical acumen, informing his vision to invariably
redeem original design and structure rather than supplant it wholly with modern architecture. The
Laureate reflects, “As an architect, I’m in a way the guardian of meaning, memory, and heritage.
Cities are historical records, and architecture after a certain moment is a historical record. Cities are
dynamic, so they don’t just sit there, they evolve. And in that evolution, we take buildings away and
we replace them with others. We choose ourselves, and the concept of only protecting the best is
not enough. It’s also a matter of protecting character and qualities that reflect the richness of the
evolution of a city.”

Neues Museum
The Neues Museum, Berlin, Germany. Photo courtesy of SPK / David Chipperfield Architects, photo Joerg von Bruchhausen

The Neues Museum (Berlin, Germany, 2009), originally constructed in the mid-19th century and left
devastated and inhabitable during World War II, demonstrates Chipperfield’s discernment between
preservation, reconstruction and addition. The novel is in conversation with the old, as architecture
of the past is brought to the foreground, yielding moments of modernity such as a striking new main
stairwell flanked by walls revealing traces of original frescoes and repurposed materials, even those
that were marred by wartime blemishes. Generous outdoor space makes it a connector for all, even
for those who never enter the galleries.

Neues Museum 4
The Neues Museum, Berlin, Germany. Photo courtesy of SPK / David Chipperfield Architects, photo Joerg von Bruchhausen

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.”

His restoration and reinvention of the Procuratie Vecchie (Venice, Italy, 2022), which dates back
to the 16th century, redefined the civic ability of this building within the heart of the city to allow
general access for the first time. He elevates partnership through his processes, upholding his belief
that architecture and craft are intertwined. He called upon traditional craftsmen to revive original
frescoes, terrazzo and pastellone flooring and plasterworks, uncovering layers of history, while
incorporating local artisan and building techniques to produce modern correlative interventions such
as a vertical circulation. The restored building now enables views from above and within, revealing
rooftop terraces, exhibition and event spaces, an auditorium and an enfilade of arches that diverge
into galleries.

Every work becomes a civic undertaking serving society, such as the America’s Cup Building
‘Veles e Vents’ (Valencia, Spain, 2006), intended primarily as a temporary hospitality venue for
offshore teams and sponsors. Exterior space exceeds interior and the cantilevered viewing decks
are miradors, generous in size, some spanning 15 meters in width around the perimeter of each
overlapping level. Chipperfield infuses a program for the public, through first-floor retail spaces and
an accessible deck that offers unrestricted views of the canal and city below. A ramp from this level
creates a direct pathway to a park just north of the site. His restoration and addition of Morland
Mixité Capitale (Paris, France, 2022) revitalizes the neighborhood with affordable and luxury housing,
retail and restaurant venues, a hotel and youth hostel, an installation space and an urban rooftop
garden. By raising the new volumes on vaulted load-bearing arcades which continue along at the
base of the original building, the architect creates a space to gather, inviting those to pass by or pass
through the new visual and physical passageway to the Seine River from the Boulevard Morland.

Amorepacific Headquarters 5
Amorepacific Headquarters, Seoul, Republic of Korea, Photo courtesy of Noshe

Whether through public or private buildings, he bestows unto society the opportunity for coexistence
and communion, protecting individuality while fostering a societal sense of belonging. The
headquarters for Amorepacific (Seoul, Republic of Korea, 2017) harmonize the individual and the
collective, the private and the public, work and respite. Vertical aluminum fins across the glass façade
provide solar shading to aid thermal conditions and natural ventilation, and create a translucency,
encouraging a rapport between the building’s occupants, its neighbors and observers. Office space
is equipoised by a public atrium, museum, library, auditorium and restaurants. A central courtyard
allows views through to nearby buildings and hanging gardens further engage the community inside
with the elements outside. At the Inagawa Cemetery Chapel and Visitor Center (Hyogo, Japan, 2017),
situated in the Hokusetsu Mountains, the physical and spiritual coexist, with places of solitude and
gathering, for peace and seeking. These interconnected expressions are mirrored in the earth-toned
monolithic buildings, stairs and pathways residing amidst the sloped terrain, and the secluded nondenominational chapel and visitor center that are juxtaposed diagonal from one another.

“We do not see an instantly recognizable David Chipperfield building in different cities, but different
David Chipperfield buildings designed specifically for each circumstance. Each asserts its presence
even as his buildings create new connections with the neighbourhood,” continues the 2023 Citation.
“His architectural language balances consistency with the fundamental design principles and flexibility
towards the local cultures…The work of David Chipperfield unifies European classicism, the complex
nature of Britain, and even the delicateness of Japan. It is the fruition of cultural diversity.”

Significant works also include the River and Rowing Museum (Henley-on-Thames, United Kingdom,
1997), BBC Scotland headquarters (Glasgow, United Kingdom, 2007), Turner Contemporary (Margate,
United Kingdom, 2011), Campus Saint Louis Art Museum (Missouri, United States of America,
2013), Campus Joachimstraße (Berlin, Germany, 2013), Museo Jumex (Mexico City, Mexico, 2013),
One Pancras Square (London, United Kingdom, 2013), Royal Academy of Arts masterplan (London,
United Kingdom, 2018), Hoxton Press (London, United Kingdom, 2018) and Kunsthaus Zürich (Zurich,
Switzerland, 2020).

Turner Contemporary 1
Turner Contemporary, Margate, United Kingdom. Photo courtesy of Simon Menges

Chipperfield is the 52nd Laureate of the Pritzker Architecture Prize. He resides in London and leads
additional offices in Berlin, Milan, Shanghai and Santiago de Compostela. The 2023 Pritzker Prize
ceremony will be held in Athens, Greece this May.

Turner Contemporary 2 1
Turner Contemporary, Margate, United Kingdom. Photo courtesy of Simon Menges

About the Pritzker Architecture Prize
The Pritzker Architecture Prize was founded in 1979 by the late Jay A. Pritzker and his wife, Cindy.
Its purpose is to honor annually a living architect or 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.

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