Interviews with the Pritzkers
Llàtzer Moix extracts parables and axioms from his readings of the lives of architects: their works, personalities, and contributions to the city and the larger environment. Books like La ciudad de los arquitectos or Queríamos un Calatrava abound with allegories and anecdotes (I lament that these perceptive, sometimes cautionary books are not available in English).
Moix’s long association with La Vanguardia as a cultural critic put him in dialogue with prominent cultural figures, especially architects, who came and went through Barcelona during his tenure at the paper. With Palabra de Pritzker, the author directs his acumen at 23 living laureates of architecture’s leading prize. This book of interviews, tailored to each architect, makes for compelling reading.
Each chapter presents a portrait and self-portrait, rendered via Moix’s introductory summary and each architect’s answers to probing questions. The interviews begin with Frank Gehry, the eldest of the living Pritzkers, and end with the youngest and this year’s recipient, Diébédo Francis Kéré. Mendes da Rocha and Rogers did not live to see the book out.
Books have documented the Pritzker and its laureates but this has a rare verve and intimacy. It lives up to its title, Word of Pritzker, which alludes to ‘word of honor’ or ‘word of mouth.’ In the Kéré interview, Moix asks what ‘Diébédo’ means. The answer: “the one who came to better things.” A fitting reply auguring well for a book that, in its tapestry of voices, honors a prize that was born to better things.