Pritzker Prize 1999


Norman Foster

On June 7, shortly after his remodeled Reichstag was inaugurated, Norman Foster received the Pritzker Prize in the same city of Berlin. For two consecutive years, therefore, the award granted by the owners of the Hyatt hotel chain has recognized a prominent representative of high-tech, in an attempt to balance out an honor’s list that leans toward other tendencies. Besides crediting the most British of fin de siècle architectural currents, the choice acknowledges the social content of Foster’s work and his capacity to invent, over and above the engineering image that characterizes his production. After designing the Cornwall refuge – halfway between a glider cockpit and a primitive shelter – and before building the colossal Asian airport of Chek Lap Kok – where the direction of the blanket of vaults orients passenger flow – the architect from Manchester renewed labor landscapes with his buildings for Olsen or Willis, Faber & Dumas; redefined the museum role and image in his Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts; and restructured the skyscraper plan with his tower for the Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank.

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