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Key projects by SANAA

Here's a selection of projects by Japanese architects SANAA, who have been named 2010 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureates (see our earlier story).

Top: Ryue Nishizawa and Kazuyo Sejima of SANAA. Photo by Takashi Okamoto.
Above: The Rolex Learning Center, Ecole Polytechnique Federale Lausanne, Switzerland (EPFL) - 2009. See our earlier story.

The award will be presented at a ceremony in New York on 17 May.

See all our stories about SANAA in our special category.

Above: The Rolex Learning Center, Ecole Polytechnique Federale Lausanne, Switzerland (EPFL) - 2009.

Photographs are by Hisao Suzuki unless otherwise stated. All images are courtesy of SANAA. Captions are provided by the architects.


Above: The Rolex Learning Center, Ecole Polytechnique Federale Lausanne, Switzerland (EPFL) - 2009.

The following information is from the architects:


Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, partners in the architectural firm, SANAA, have been chosen as the 2010 Laureates of the Pritzker Architecture Prize.

Above: The Rolex Learning Center, Ecole Polytechnique Federale Lausanne, Switzerland (EPFL) - 2009.

The formal ceremony for what has come to be known throughout the world as architecture’s highest honor will be held on May 17 on historic Ellis Island in New York. At that time, a $100,000 grant and bronze medallions will be bestowed on the two architects.

Above: Floor Plan, Rolex Learning Center, Ecole Polytechnique Federale Lausanne, Switzerland (EPFL) - 2009.

In announcing the jury’s choice, Thomas J. Pritzker, chairman of The Hyatt Foundation, elaborated, “This marks the third time in the history of the prize that two architects have been named in the same year.

Above: The Rolex Learning Center, Ecole Polytechnique Federale Lausanne, Switzerland (EPFL) - 2009.

The first was in 1988 when Oscar Niemeyer of Brazil and the late Gordon Bunshaft were so honored, and the second was in 2001, when Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, partners in a Swiss firm, were selected.”

Above: New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York City, New York - 2007. See our earlier story.

He continued, “Japanese architects have been chosen three times in the thirty year history of the Pritzker Architecture Prize — the first was the late Kenzo Tange in 1987, then in 1993, Fumihiko Maki was selected, and in 1995, Tadao Ando was the honoree.”

Above: New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York City, New York - 2007.

The purpose of the Pritzker Architecture 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.

Above: New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York City, New York - 2007.

Pritzker Prize jury chairman, The Lord Palumbo quoted from the jury citation to focus on this year’s selection: “For architecture that is simultaneously delicate and powerful, precise and fluid, ingenious but not overly or overtly clever; for the creation of buildings that successfully interact with their contexts and the activities they contain, creating a sense of fullness and experiential richness; for a singular architectural language that springs from a collaborative process that is both unique and inspirational; for their notable completed buildings and the promise of new projects together, Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa are the recipients of the 2010 Pritzker Architecture Prize.”

Above: DeKunstlinie Theater and Cultural Center - Almere, Netherlands - 2007.

Upon learning that she was being honored, Kazuyo Sejima had this reaction: “I am thrilled to receive such an honor. I would like to thank the Pritzker (Hyatt) foundation, the jury members, the clients who have worked with us, and all of our collaborators.

Above: DeKunstlinie Theater and Cultural Center - Almere, Netherlands - 2007.

I have been exploring how I can make architecture that feels open, which I feel is important for a new generation of architecture. With this prize I will continue trying to make wonderful architecture.” And a similar reaction from Ryue Nishizawa: “I receive this wonderful prize with great humility.

Above: Zollverein School of Management and Design, Essen, Germany - 2006.

I am very honored and at the same time very surprised. I receive and understand this prize as encouragement for our efforts. Every time I finish a building I revel in possibilities and at the same time reflect on what has happened.Each project becomes my motivation for the next new project.

Above: Zollverein School of Management and Design, Essen, Germany - 2006.

In the same way this wonderful prize has given me a dynamic energy that I have never felt before. I thank you very much.

Above: Zollverein School of Management and Design, Essen, Germany - 2006.

”The distinguished jury that selected the 2010 Laureates consists of its chairman, Lord Palumbo, internationally known architectural patron of London, chairman of the trustees, Serpentine Gallery, former chairman of the Arts Council of Great Britain, former chairman of the Tate Gallery Foundation, and former trustee of the Mies van der Rohe Archive at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; and alphabetically: Alejandro Aravena, architect and executive director of Elemental in Santiago, Chile;

Above: Glass Pavilion, Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, Ohio - 2006.

Rolf Fehlbaum, chairman of the board of Vitra in Basel, Switzerland; Carlos Jimenez, professor, Rice University School of Architecture, principal, Carlos Jimenez Studio in Houston, Texas; Juhani Pallasmaa, architect, professor and author of Helsinki, Finland; Renzo Piano, architect and Pritzker Laureate, of Paris, France and Genoa, Italy; and Karen Stein, writer, editor and architectural consultant in New York.

Above: Glass Pavilion, Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, Ohio - 2006.

Martha Thorne, associate dean for external relations, IE School of Architecture, Madrid, Spain, who is executive director of the prize, augmented the jury citation, saying, “The architecture of Sejima and Nishizawa explores the ideas of lightness and transparency and pushes the boundaries of these concepts to new extremes.”

Above: Glass Pavilion, Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, Ohio - 2006.

The field of architecture was chosen by the Pritzker family because of their keen interest in building due to their involvement with developing the Hyatt Hotels around the world; also because architecture was a creative endeavor not included in the Nobel Prizes.

Above: Glass Pavilion, Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, Ohio - 2006.

The procedures were modeled after the Nobels, with the final selection being made by the international jury with all deliberations and voting in secret. Nominations are continuous from year to year with hundreds of nominees from countries all around the world being considered each year.

Above: Floor Plan, Glass Pavilion, Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, Ohio - 2006.

Above: Naoshima Ferry Terminal Naoshima, Kagawa, Japan - 2006.

Above: Naoshima Ferry Terminal Naoshima, Kagawa, Japan - 2006.

Above: 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art Kanazawa, Ishikawa, Japan - 2004. Photo by SANAA

Above: 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art Kanazawa, Ishikawa, Japan - 2004.

Above: 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art Kanazawa, Ishikawa, Japan - 2004.

Above: 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art Kanazawa, Ishikawa, Japan - 2004.

Above: Christian Dior Building, Omotesando Tokyo, Japan - 2003.

Above: Christian Dior Building, Omotesando Tokyo, Japan - 2003.

Above: O-Museum Iida, Nagano Japan - 1999.

Above: O-Museum Iida, Nagano Japan - 1999.