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David Chipperfield

David Chipperfield wins Pritzker Architecture Prize 2023

British architect David Chipperfield has been awarded this year's Pritzker Architecture Prize for his "understated but transformative" body of work that spans four decades.

Chipperfield is the 52nd winner of the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize, which is considered the most significant award in international architecture.

the River and Rowing Museum by David Chipperfield
Top image: David Chipperfield has won the 2023 Pritzker Architecture Prize. Above: the River and Rowing Museum was an early major project. Photo courtesy of Richard Bryant /Arcaid

The 2023 jury hailed him for "steering clear of trends" and recognised his "commitment to an architecture of understated but transformative civic presence".

"Such a capacity to distill and perform meditated design operations is a dimension of sustainability that has not been obvious in recent years," read the jury's citation. "Sustainability as pertinence not only eliminates the superfluous but is also the first step to creating structures able to last, physically and culturally."

the James Simon Galerie in Berlin 
More recently David Chipperfield Architects created the James Simon Galerie in Berlin. Photo by Simon Menges

Born in London in 1953, Chipperfield began his career after graduating from the Kingston School of Art in 1976 and later from the Architectural Association in 1977.

He worked for fellow Pritzker Architecture Prize-laureates Norman Foster and Richard Rogers, before establishing his eponymous studio David Chipperfield Architects in London in 1985. Today, his studio has offices in Berlin, Milan, Shanghai and Santiago de Compostela.

Museo Jumex by David Chipperfield in Mexico City
Chipperfield is the architect behind Museo Jumex in Mexico City. Photo by Simon Menges

In response to the news, the architect said he was "so overwhelmed to receive this extraordinary honour and to be associated with the previous recipients".

"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," Chipperfield added.

One of David Chipperfield Architects' first major projects was the linear River and Rowing Museum on the River Thames, which he completed with his studio in 1997.

Cementing him as a go-to architect for civic and cultural buildings, this led his studio on to creating landmark buildings including the Hepworth in Wakefield in 2011, Saint Louis Art Museum in Missouri in 2013, the Museo Jumex in Mexico City in 2013 and James Simon Galerie in Berlin in 2018.

Exterior of renovated Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin 
His studio specialises in renovations and restored the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin. Photo by Simon Menges

Other key projects by David Chipperfield Architects in the public realm are the Veles e Vents in Valencia in 2006, the Turner Contemporary in Margate in 2011 and the Inagawa Cemetery Chapel and Visitor Center in 2017.

His studio has also delved into offices and housing typologies with projects including the Amorepacific Headquarters in Seoul in 2017 and the Hoxton Press residences in London in 2018.

Renovations are another speciality of David Chipperfield Architects, which has seen it revamp the likes of Berlin's Neues Museum originally by Friedrich August Stüler in 2009 and the Neue Nationalgalerie designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in 2021.

Elsewhere, the studio is currently working on a rammed-earth extension for the National Archaeological Museum in Athens and the refurbishment of the iconic Jenners department store in Edinburgh.

Exterior of The Hepworth gallery by David Chipperfield from across the water
The Hepworth gallery in Wakefield is among his studio's notable projects. Photo by Iwan Baan

Alongside the Pritzker Architecture Prize, Chipperfield has received several other accolades and honours including the RIBA Royal Gold Medal in 2010, the Mies van der Rohe Award in 2011 and the Japan Art Association's Praemium Imperiale for Architecture in 2013.

In 2004, he was appointed as Commander of the Order of the British Empire. Later, he was knighted in 2010 before being appointed to the Order of the Companions of Honour in 2021.

While practising as an architect, Chipperfield is an author and educator at various institutes including the State Academy of Fine Arts Stuttgart and Yale University. He also curated the 13th Biennale Architettura in 2012.

He will be awarded the prize at the 2023 Pritzker Prize ceremony in Athens in May.

the Amorepacific Headquarters in Seoul
Chipperfield created the Amorepacific Headquarters in Seoul. Photo courtesy of Noshe

This year's jury was chaired by architect Alejandro Aravena and consisted of architects Kazuyo Sejima, Deborah Berke, Wang Shu and Benedetta Tagliabue.

Historian Barry Bergdoll was also on the panel, alongside critic André Aranha Corrêa do Lago, lawyer Stephen Gerald Breyer and Pritzker Architecture Prize executive director Manuela Lucá-Dazio.

Last year, the Pritzker Architecture Prize was given to Diébédo Francis Kéré, who was the first African architect to win the award. Other winners of the award include architects Frank Gehry, Renzo Piano, Zaha Hadid and Arata Isozaki.