Pritzker Prize News

John Hill
29. October 2020
Alejandro Aravena (Photo by Sergio Lopez, courtesy of Diario El Mercurio) and Manuela Lucá-Dazio (Photos courtesy of Pritzker Architecture Prize)

The Pritzker Architecture Prize has announced that Alejandro Aravena will rejoin and chair the jury, and that Manuela Lucá-Dazio will be the new executive director, taking over for Martha Thorne in March 2021.

Both pieces of news are potentially significant for the prestigious prize often called "architecture's Nobel." Aravena, who won the 2016 Pritzker and served from 2009 to 2015 on the jury, has the potential to push the annual prize in a decidedly socially oriented direction; this, at least, was something we pondered when he was named a laureate. And Thorne has been a stable presence as jury members came and went, and as the role of the Pritzker and other prizes has been called into questions, having served as executive director since 2005. Her departure will coincide with the naming of the 2021 laureate in early spring.

Before taking over as executive director, Manuela Lucá-Dazio will serve as advisor, which brings the total members of the 2021 jury to ten:

  • Alejandro Aravena (chair), Founder and Executive Director of ELEMENTAL and 2016 Pritzker Laureate, Santiago
  • Stephen Breyer, U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Washington, D.C.
  • Barry Bergdoll, Meyer Schapiro Professor of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University, New York
  • Deborah Berke, founder of Deborah Berke Partners, New York, and Dean of the Yale School of Architecture, New Haven, Connecticut
  • André Aranha Corrêa do Lago, architectural critic, curator, and Brazilian Ambassador to India, Delhi
  • Manuela Lucá-Dazio (Advisor), former Executive Director, Department of Visual Arts and Architecture of La Biennale di Venezia
  • Kazuyo Sejima, architect and 2010 Pritzker Laureate, Tokyo
  • Wang Shu, architect, educator, and 2012 Pritzker Laureate, Hangzhou, China
  • Benedetta Tagliabue, architect and director of EMBT Miralles Tagliabue, Barcelona
  • Martha Thorne (Executive Director), Dean of IE School of Architecture and Design, Madrid

Quotes from Aravena, Lucá-Dazio, and Thorne accompanied today's announcement:

Alejandro Aravena

"Historically, architecture has been about creating innovative alternatives and imagining possibilities, but it is also intimately connected with society. As jurors, our task is, first, to be sensitive to those questions society would like the architectural profession to address, and to identify those architects that are trying to use the discipline’s body of knowledge to translate those questions into projects. I am honored to join this group effort aimed to improve the quality of the built environment."

Manuela Lucá-Dazio

"It is for me an enormous honor to become the next Executive Director of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, an essential point of reference in the architecture world, and even more at such a key historical moment for the architectural discourse and practice. I am deeply grateful to Margot and Tom Pritzker for giving me this chance. I look forward to joining the Pritzker Architecture Prize organization, to support its highly prestigious Jury and serve its mission to celebrate the quality in the profession for the enhancement of the built environment and the lives of those who inhabit it."

Martha Thorne

"The experience and knowledge gained over the past fifteen years with the Prize has been an enormous privilege. Looking ahead, I am eager to expand my involvement in other initiatives where I can directly affect the field of architecture both working with people and institutions to engage the services of architects and devoting more time to writing."

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