Riken Yamamoto, Pritzker Prize 2024


Riken Yamamoto, Pritzker Prize 2024


Riken Yamamoto. Photo: Tom Welsh

Riken Yamamoto has been pronounced the 2024 Laureate of the Pritzker Architecture Prize. The Hyatt Foundation has recognized the Japanese architect in the new edition of the accolade, which has been given yearly since 1979 and comes with a US$100,000 prize.

He was born in Beijing in 1945 and two years later his family returned to a war-devastated Japan. Riken Yamamoto set up his practice in Yokoyama in 1973, having graduated from the College of Science and Technology at Nihon University and earned his master’s degree at the Faculty of Architecture of Tokyo University of the Arts.

With a trajectory of over five decades to his name, Yamamoto is the author of works as significant in his country as the Shinonome Canal Court CODAN apartment building in Tokyo, the Ecoms House in Tosu-City, the Yokusuka Museum of Art, Fussa City Hall, the Koyasu Elementary School in Yokoyama, and Nagoya Zokei University. The works he has completed abroad include the Pangyo de Seongnam housing development in South Korea, the Jian Wai SOHO mixed-use complex in Beijing, Tianjin Library, and The Circle at Zurich Airport. The jury chaired by Alejandro Aravena and seating Kazuyo Sejima, Wang Shu, and Barry Bergdoll, among others, highlighted Yamamoto’s capacity to blur the boundary between public and private through precise, rational design strategies, and thereby promote community life and the coming together of people. His architecture is characterized by modular composition and formal simplicity, as well as by the material transparency and visual connection that exposes the internal workings of buildings.

Yamamoto, the ninth Japanese to receive the prize, has said that for him, “to recognize space is to recognize an entire community,” and that though “the current architectural approach emphasizes privacy, negating the necessity of societal relationships… we can still honor the freedom of each individual while living together in architectural space as a republic, fostering harmony across cultures and phases of life.”

The awarding ceremony of the 2024 Pritzker Prize will take place on May 16 at the Art Insitute of Chicago, a beaux-arts building that was last expanded by Renzo Piano Building Workshop.

Hotakubo Housing in Kumamoto, Japan (1991). Photo: Tomio Ohashi

Future University of Hakodate, Japan (2000). Photo: Isao Aihara

Hiroshima Nishi Fire Station, Japan (2000). Photo: Tomio Ohashi

Shinonome Canal Court CODAN in Tokyo, Japan (2003). Photo: Riken Yamamoto & Field Shop

Ecoms House in Tosu, Japan (2004). Photo: Shinkenchiku Sha

Jian Wai SOHO in Beijing, China (2004). Photo: Tomio Ohashi

Yokosuka Museum of Art, Japan (2006). Photo: Tomio Ohashi

Fussa City Hall in Tokyo, Japan (2008). Photo: Sergio Pirrone

Pangyo Housing in Seongnam, South Korea (2010). Photo: GA Photographers

Koyasu Elementary School in Yokohama, Japan (2018). Photo: Mitsumasa Fujitsuka

Nagoya Zokei University, Japan (2022). Photo: Shinkenchiku Sha

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