Tuesday, June 7, 2011

2011 Pritzker Architecture Prize Announced

Eduardo Souto de Moura, a 58 year old Portuguese architect who has worked mainly in his native country, has been awarded the 2011 Pritzker Prize. The Pritzker Prize is considered the highest honor an architect can receive - it is like the Nobel Prize of architecture.

Souto de Moura (right), who lives and works in the northern Portuguese city of Porto, is not as well known internationally as many previous Pritzker winners but is highly respected in Portugal. He is the second Portuguese architect to win the prize; the first was Alvaro Siza in 1992. Souto de Moura worked for Siza early in his career.

Souto de Moura work includes his 2004 stadium in Braga, Portugal, a 2007 office tower in Porto and his design for the Paula Rego Museum in Cascais, Portugal, completed in 2008.

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama (left) presented the 2011 Pritzker Architecture Prize to Souto de Moura at the Andrew Mellon Auditorium in Washington, DC, June 2. The Pritzer Architecture Prize is awarded annually by a jury to a living architect who has made “significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture.” The winner receives a $100,000 grant.

With his tendency toward angular designs using steel, glass, granite, and marble, Souto de Moura is often described as a “neo-Miesian” (Mies van der Rohe). Souto de Moura does not define his work as "green", but takes care to pay attention to sustainable building elements. At a forum in 2004, he said, “There is no ecological architecture, no intelligent architecture, no sustainable architecture — there is only good architecture. There are always problems we must not neglect. For example, energy, resources, costs, social aspects — one must always pay attention to all these.”

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