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The Pritzker Architecture Prize

About the prize

To honor a living architect/s 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.
The international prize, which is awarded each year to a living architect/s for significant
achievement, was established by the Pritzker family of Chicago through their Hyatt
Foundation in 1979. It is granted annually and is often referred to as “architecture’s
Nobel” and “the profession’s highest honor.”
The award consists of $100,000 (US) and a bronze medallion. The award is conferred on
the laureate/s at a ceremony held at an architecturally significant site throughout the
Jay and Cindy Pritzker 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.
The prize takes its name from the Pritzker family, whose international business interests
are headquartered in Chicago. Their name is synonymous with Hyatt Hotels located
throughout the world. The Pritzkers have long been known for their support of
educational, scientific, medical, and cultural activities. Jay A. Pritzker, (1922-1999), founded
the prize with his wife, Cindy. His eldest son, Thomas J. Pritzker, the current president
of The Hyatt Foundation, 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.”
He continues, “In 1967, we acquired an unfinished building which was to become the
Hyatt Regency Atlanta. Its soaring atrium was wildly successful and became the signature
piece of our hotels around the world. It was immediately apparent that this design had a
pronounced effect on the mood of our guests and attitude of our employees. While the
architecture of Chicago made us cognizant of the art of architecture, our work with
designing and building hotels made us aware of the impact architecture could have on
human behavior. So in 1978, when we were approached with the idea of honoring living
architects, we were responsive. Mom and Dad (Cindy and the late Jay A. Pritzker)
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
Many of the procedures and rewards of the Pritzker Prize are modeled after the Nobel
Prize. Laureates of the Pritzker Architecture Prize receive a $100,000 grant, a formal
citation certificate, and since 1987, a bronze medallion. Prior to that year, a limited
edition Henry Moore sculpture was presented to each Laureate.

etc. As the ceremony locations are usually chosen each year before the laureate is selected. About the prize (continued) Ceremony and Medal The official ceremony granting the award takes place every year. Nominations are accepted through November 1 of any given year. critics. paying homage to the architecture of other eras and/or works by previous laureates of the prize. The jury members are recognized professionals in their own fields of architecture. there is no intended connection between the two. The bronze medallion awarded to each Laureate of the Pritzker Architecture Prize is based on designs of Louis Sullivan. any licensed architect may submit a nomination to the Executive Director for consideration by the jury for the Pritzker Architecture Prize. and an acceptance speech from the Laureate. politicians. The choice of location of the ceremony reinforces the importance of the built environment while providing a unique setting for the ceremony. usually in May. It is sufficient to send an e-mail to the Executive Director with the nominee’s name and contact information. venustas. education. famed Chicago architect generally acknowledged as the father of the skyscraper. business. Jury members serve for multiple years to assure a balance between past and new members and are entrusted with selecting the laureate each year. Additionally. The invitation-only event is attended by international guests and guests from the host country. The ceremony itself normally consists of welcoming remarks usually from a dignitary of the host country. Nomination Process The prize is awarded irrespective of nationality. comments from the jury chairman. No members of the Pritzker family or outside observers are present during jury deliberations which usually take place during the first months of the calendar year. utilitas. The laureate receives $100. professionals involved in cultural endeavors.The Pritzker Architecture Prize. the presentation of the prize by Thomas Pritzker.000 and also a bronze . On the reverse. at an architecturally significant site throughout the world. architects. Executive Director The Pritzker Architecture Prize 71 South Wacker Drive Suite 4700 Chicago.” recalling Roman architect Vitruvius' fundamental principles of architecture of firmitas. or ideology. The Jury normally undertakes deliberations early in the calendar year and the winner is announced in the © The Hyatt Foundation spring. Nominations that do not result in the award are automatically carried over to the following year. and with expertise and interest in the field of architecture. For more information. three words are inscribed. race. On one side is the name of the prize. Jury The independent jury of experts ranges from five to nine members. The Executive Director actively solicits nominations from past laureates. The presentation ceremonies move around the world each year. firmness. Nominations are accepted internationally from persons from diverse fields who have a knowledge of and interest in advancing great architecture. academics. please contact: 2 Martha Thorne. creed. and culture. Illinois 60606 email: marthathorne@pritzkerprize. commodity and delight. publishing.