The Praemium Imperiale, an accolade given by the Japan Art Association and the Imperial House of Japan since 1989, has been awarded to the Australian Glenn Murcutt in the Architecture section. Born in London in 1936, Murcutt spent his early childhood in Papua New Guinea, studied architecture in Australia, and set up a studio in Sydney in 1969. He generally works as a sole practitioner and without computers, using freehand drawing to work out solutions to design problems. Fidelity to both the Modern Movement and vernacular traditions, in combination with a deep sensitivity to the environment, marks Murcutt’s buildings, among them the Laurie Short House in Sydney, the Fredericks-White House in Jamberoo, and the Fletcher Page and Walsh Houses, both in Kangaroo Valley. Recent projects of his include the Australian Islamic Centre in Melbourne and MPavilion 2019.
Murcutt’s co-laureates are Sebastião Salgado (Painting), James Turrell (Sculpture) and Yo-Yo Ma (Music). Because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, no recipient was selected in this year’s Theater/Film category, as restrictions prevented many candidates from fulfilling the requirements for the award.