What is the Pritzker Architecture Prize and its purpose?
The Pritzker Architecture Prize is an international award established by the Pritzker family through their Hyatt Foundation in 1979. It is often referred to as “the Nobel Prize of Architecture” and “the profession’s highest honor.”
The purpose of the Pritzker Architecture Prize is to honor a living architect or architects whose built work demonstrates a combination of talent, vision, and commitment; and has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture.
Why is it called Pritzker Prize?
The award was established in 1979 by Jay A. (1922-1999) and Cindy Pritzker, who believed that a meaningful prize would encourage and stimulate a greater public awareness of buildings, and also inspire greater creativity within the architectural profession.
The Pritzker family, whose international business interests are headquartered in Chicago, present the award through the Hyatt Foundation. The Pritzkers have long been known for their support of educational, scientific, medical, and cultural activities. Thomas J. Pritzker, the current president of The Hyatt Foundation, alongside his wife, Margot Pritzker, explains, “As native Chicagoans, it’s not surprising that our family was keenly aware of architecture, living in the birthplace of the skyscraper, a city filled with buildings designed by architectural legends such as Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies van der Rohe, and many others. My parents believed that a meaningful prize would encourage and stimulate not only a greater public awareness of buildings, but also would inspire greater creativity within the architectural profession.”
Is the Pritzker Prize awarded to firms and individuals, a type or architecture, or for specific buildings?
The Pritzker Prize is awarded to a living architect or architects, but not to an architectural firm.
It is not linked to a type of architecture or for a specific building, but rather for a body of built work.
Can anyone nominate a candidate? Can I nominate myself?
Solicited nominations are accepted internationally from persons of diverse fields who have a knowledge of and interest in architecture.
The Executive Director actively invites nominations from past laureates, architects, academics, critics, politicians, professionals involved in cultural endeavors, and persons of diverse fields who have an expertise and interest in the field of architecture.
Additionally, any licensed architect may submit a “non-solicited” nomination to the Executive Director for consideration by the jury for the Pritzker Architecture Prize. An e-mail to the Executive Director with the name of the suggested candidate is all that is necessary. Nominations are accepted through November 1 of any given year for consideration for the following year’s prize.
Do I need to submit a portfolio or letters of recommendation?
Unlike other prizes, there are no forms to submit and no portfolios or letters of recommendation are necessary. However, a website address, e-mail address and list of completed buildings are appreciated, if the nominator believes that that work of the architect may not be known to the jury.
When and where is the announcement and award ceremony held?
Typically, the laureate(s) is announced each March, and the official award ceremony is held that spring at a significant site throughout the world. As the ceremony locations are usually chosen each year prior to the Laureate selection, there is no intended connection between the Pritzker Prize laureate(s) and the ceremony site.
In 2020, an in-person ceremony was not possible due to the Covid-19 global pandemic. Instead, a special video was created to honor the Laureates and released through the official website and social media channels.
Can anyone attend the award ceremony and dinner?
The private event is attended by international guests and guests from the host country who receive invitations directly from the Pritzker family. The ceremony itself normally consists of welcoming remarks usually from a dignitary of the host country; comments from the jury chairman; the presentation of the prize by Tom Pritzker; and an acceptance speech from the Laureate.
Occasionally, and venue-permitting, the ceremony may be open to the public, and corresponding details are made available.
Virtual ceremonies are promoted in advance, and viewable worldwide through our website and social media channels.
Are there other events hosted by the Pritzker Prize?
Each year, a public lecture presented by the Laureates is held at a leading institution located within the host country in the days immediately following the award ceremony. Details for public access are announced in the month prior to the event.
Is a short list of candidates revealed each year?
There is no short list of candidates, and all processes pertaining to the jury deliberations are confidential.
Who is on the jury?
The independent jury of experts ranges from five to nine members, who serve for multiple years to assure a balance between past and new members and are entrusted with selecting the laureate each year. No members of the Pritzker family or outside observers are present during jury deliberations. The jury members are recognized professionals in their own fields of architecture, business, education, publishing, and culture. View our “Meet the Jury” page for information on current and past Jurors, and the Executive Director.
How do I download materials/images?
You can download high resolution images and the most recent image book here.
Press may download high-resolution images for media publication only in relation to the announcement of the current Laureate. The photographer/photo libraries/artists must be credited if noted. All images are copyright of the respective photographers and artists cited, and courtesy of the Pritzker Architecture Prize.
What does the winning Laureate receive?
The Laureate receives a $100,000 grant, a formal citation certificate, and since 1987, a bronze medallion based on designs of Louis Sullivan, famed Chicago architect generally acknowledged as the father of the skyscraper. On one side is the name of the prize. On the reverse, three words are inscribed, “firmness, commodity and delight,” recalling Roman architect Vitruvius' fundamental principles of architecture of firmitas, utilitas, venustas. Prior to that year, a limited edition Henry Moore sculpture was presented to each Laureate.