DAVID CHIPPERFIELD WINS PRITZKER
Civic architect, urban planner and activist, Sir David Alan Chipperfield CH has been selected as the 2023 Laureate of The Pritzker Architecture Prize
Described as subtle yet powerful, subdued yet elegant, Sir Chipperfield’s built works, spanning over four decades, are expansive in typology and geography and include over 100 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 described him as a prolific architect who is radical in his restraint, demonstrating his reverence for history and culture while honouring the pre-existing 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,” said 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.”
Sir David Alan Chipperfield was born in London and raised on a countryside farm in Devon, southwest England. A collection of barns and outbuildings, filled with childhood wonderment and recollection, shape his first strong physical impression of architecture. “I think good architecture provides a setting, it’s there and it’s not there. Like all things that have great meaning, they’re both foreground and background and I’m not so fascinated by foreground all the time. Architecture is something which can intensify and support and help our rituals and our lives. The experiences in life that I gravitate toward and enjoy most are when normal things have been made special, as opposed to where everything is about the special.”
He graduated from the Kingston School of Art in 1976 and the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London in 1980. He worked under Douglas Stephen, Norman Foster, 1999 Pritzker Prize Laureate and the late Richard Rogers, 2007 Pritzker Prize Laureate, before founding David Chipperfield Architects in London in 1985, which later expanded to additional offices in Berlin (1998), Shanghai (2005), Milan (2006) and Santiago de Compostela (2022). Over recent years, he has developed a fondness and devotion to the community of Galicia, one of Spain’s poorest regions that paradoxically prospers with a high quality of life. Establishing the Fundación RIA in 2017, Chipperfield sponsors research, promotes ideas and aligns future development, fostering locally-focused protection to the natural and built environments related to global challenges along the coast of the Ría de Arousa.
“Architects can’t operate outside of society. We need society to come with us. And yes, maybe we can provoke and complain, and we can find models. But we need a planning framework, we need ambitions, we need priorities. Essentially, what we have to hope now is that the environmental crisis makes us reconsider priorities of society, that profit is not the only thing that should be motivating our decisions.”
Michael McDonnell Managing Editor of Irish Construction Industry Magazine & Plan Magazine