Dezeen Magazine

Centro Innovacion UC Anacleto Angelini by Alejandro Aravena

"The Pritzker Prize has mutated into a prize for humanitarian work"

Comments update: Zaha Hadid Architects director Patrik Schumacher was the fiercest critic of the decision to name Alejandro Aravena as the 2016 Pritzker laureate in Dezeen's comments section. 

Pritzker Prince: Alejandro Aravena, whose UC Innovation Centre is pictured above, is best known for his work with Elemental, an architecture group that aims to tackle poverty and eliminate slums.

But Schumacher was unimpressed by the decision to award him with architecture's highest honour, and laid out his reasoning below our exclusive interview with the Chilean architect.

"The [political correctness] of architecture is complete," wrote Schumacher. "The Pritzker Prize has mutated into a prize for humanitarian work."

Many readers hit back, defending the naming of Aravena as this year's Pritzker laureate.

"Respectfully I have to disagree with you Mr. Schumacher," replied a guest commenter. "The selection shows confidence in architecture and its ability to have many voices instead of one overbearing style." Read the comments on this story »

Zaha Hadid

Pay row: the latest chapter in the saga of Zaha Hadid's ditched Tokyo stadium design saw organisers of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics refusing to pay the London-based architect until she gave up all copyright on the project – a request she publicly rejected.

While some described her position as "grandstanding for the press", others felt she had taken an important and principled stance.

"Zaha will sue and she will win," said one reader. "This is disgraceful from Japan, again."

"I find it strange that Zaha is making such a situation public," replied Tina. "What warranted such public disclosure in this instance?" Tell us what you think in the comments section »

Kengo Kuma

Kuma karma: Japanese architect Kengo Kuma added to the ongoing debate over the stadium, rubbishing Hadid's claims that his replacement design had "remarkable similarities" to her ditched competition-winning proposal.

"Zaha Hadid Architects did not invent stadium-bowl design and the amenities around it," agreed Keikomirashi. "I can't see how they can claim plagiarism on this."

Some felt Kuma should've kept quiet instead of protesting his innocence.

"I simply cannot understand why Kuma felt he had to defend himself in any way," wrote a guest commenter. "There was nothing to defend." Read the comments on this story »

432 Park Avenue New York by Raphael Viñoly

The sky's the limit: Instagram users captured dramatic images of 432 Park Avenue, the super-tall tower in Manhattan by Rafael Viñoly Architects that is set to open this year. But is Viñoly's skyscraper design elegant or boring?

"I find its simplicity refreshing and its boldness inspiring," said regular commenter Kay. "What I can't get over is the demolition of The Drake, a really beautiful and elegant early 20th-century Art Deco structure."

Others described 432 Park Avenue as Viñoly's "redeeming" project after the so-called Walkie Talkie skyscraper in London, which became infamous for reflecting a beam of light intense enough to melt cars. Read the comments on this story »

Main image by Chilean photographer Cristobal Palma.