Daniel Libeskind won’t be getting a Pritzker Prize from this jury…Share
Although the jury citation for this year’s Pritzker Prize was written to praise SANAA’s Kazuo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, a couple phrases bubble over with unmistakable disdain for unnamed (but very identifiable) architects who stand little chance of winning a Pritzker from the current jury.
This year’s 8-member jury (the roster changes over time and varies between 5 and 9 members) includes Lord Peter Palumbo and Renzo Piano - two individuals who undoubtedly made their presence felt during deliberations, either by force of personality or towering achievement, and whose viewpoints might explain this portion of the jury citation:
Sejima and Nishizawa’s architecture stands in direct contrast with the bombastic and rhetorical. Instead, they seek the essential qualities of architecture that result in a much appreciated straightforwardness, economy of means and restraint in their work.
Daniel Libeskind, anyone? Peter Eisenman, perhaps? There is enough to say about Sejima and Nishizawa without having to resort to praise via subtle, but pointed, comments about their peers. Minimal impact would’ve been sacrificed if the jury citation left out “bombastic and rhetorical” - so why include that nugget? Well for one, the jury citation is accurate in its portrayal of the winners’ approach to architecture, an approach that is most clearly understood when contrasted with other prevailing attitudes.
Moreover, there are few avenues available to the profession that are better-suited for reaching the right eyeballs. If you (say, Renzo Piano) want to make a public statement or send a message to a certain someone (say Daniel Libeskind) who differs from you in every way (from temperment to style), why not do so in the citation for an award that that “someone” probably expects to win at some point? After all, it is difficult for a non-bombastic person to get the attention of loud people.
Fortunately, Libeskind, Eisenman, et al, need not fret for too long. In a couple years, the jury’s make-up will be different, and perhaps more inclined to acknowledge two indisputably excellent (albeit polarizing) portfolios, despite their creators’ occasional bombast and tendency to undervalue “straightforwardness.”
Related Posts: (1) SANAA’s Sejima and Nishizawa predictably (but justifiably) win 2010 Pritzker Prize; (2) Daniel Libeskind vainly tries to overcome irony of his prefab diversion; (3) Oh, the irony, Mr. Libeskind…
Image courtesy of luau.