The book celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Pritzker Prize, first awarded in 1979, the most prestigious international award for architecture. From Jean Nouvel to the Japanese architect Kazuyo Sejima, the winner in 2010, from Rem Koolhaas to Frank O. Gehry, the greatest designs and the most famous names in contemporary architecture.
The aim of the Pritzker Prize is “to honor annually a living architect 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”. Presented every year to a living architect for his/her work, it is, therefore, a major acknowledgement of each architect’s career. The theoretical and design approach of each architect is presented through citations taken from interviews and theoretical articles: personal reflections on contemporary architecture and ways of building highlight the creative thinking behind the works. The book is organized backwards chronologically, starting with Kazuyo Sejima with Ryue Nishizawa, the winner in 2010 and ending with the first prize-winner in 1979, American Philip Johnson. For each year, there is a biography of the architect who won the prize, together with their main achievements, accompanied by color photographs of interiors and exteriors, cross-sections, plans and sketches. From Zaha Hadid, the first woman to win the prize in 2004, to Renzo Piano and Aldo Rossi, the only two Italians in the list, from the buildings of Kenzo Tange to the forms of Frank O. Gehry, all the winners are quoted as they speak about their work, while the splendid images fully express the greatness of their achievements. The book is curated by Ruth Peltason, American author and curator, who has written numerous books about contemporary architecture, design and art, and Grace Ong-Yan, an architectural historian who trained at Yale University.