Riken Yamamoto, the 2024 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate
March 6, 2024
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The 2024 Laureate of the Pritzker Architecture Prize has been unveiled. He is a Japanese architect, Riken Yamamoto, known for his visionary ideas on establishing kinship between architecture and communities to create a harmonious relationship between an individual’s life and society. 

Riken Yamamoto Riken Yamamoto, Image courtesy of Tom Welsh

This highest honor in architecture is given to Riken Yamamoto for his coherent and rigorous career in producing architecture that bridges the gap between public and private dimensions, enhancing and enriching the lives of individuals and their social connections. Uniquely defining community as a “sense of sharing one space,” Riken Yamamoto always thrives on deconstructing the meaning of community, which has created an urban lifestyle without relation to neighbors into a more fluid one where privacy is perfectly maintained while also having a great relation to the neighbors. 

Saitama Prefectural University Saitama Prefectural University, Image courtesy of Tomio Ohashi

Yamamoto expresses, “For me, to recognize space is to recognize an entire community,” He also adds, “The current architectural approach emphasizes privacy, negating the necessity of societal relationships. However, 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.” 

By reconsidering boundaries as space, he manages to bridge the threshold between public and private lives, achieving social value with every project, as each abounds with places for engagement and chance encounters. While he engages with various building types, from smallest to widest, he always pays huge attention to the communities to generate a public interworking space system that convenes in different ways. 

Shinonome Canal Court CODAN, photo courtesy of Tomio Ohashi

Shinonome Canal Court CODAN, Image courtesy of Tomio Ohashi

“Yamamoto develops a new architectural language that doesn’t merely create spaces for families to live, but creates communities for families to live together,” says Tom Pritzker, Chair of the Hyatt Foundation, which sponsors the award. “His works are always connected to society, cultivating a generosity in spirit and honoring the human moment.”

Applying modular structure and simple forms, all his architectural creations clearly express his visionary ideas to create a space where people can engage in public and private activities with a great spatial experience inside each building. 

Hiroshima Nishi Fire Station, photo courtesy of Tomio Ohashi

Hiroshima Nishi Fire Station, Image courtesy of Tomio Ohashi

“One of the things we need most in the future of cities is to create conditions through architecture that multiply the opportunities for people to come together and interact. By carefully blurring the boundary between public and private, Yamamoto contributes positively beyond the brief to enable community,” explains Alejandro Aravena, Jury Chair and 2016 Pritzker Prize Laureate. “He is a reassuring architect who brings dignity to everyday life. Normality becomes extraordinary. Calmness leads to splendor.”

Hotakubo Housing, photo courtesy of Tomio Ohashi

Hotakubo Housing, Image courtesy of Tomio Ohashi

He has raised awareness in the community about the responsibility of social demand by implementing precise and rational design strategies. His approach emphasizes how architecture can calibrate each architectural response and how spaces must be created with the people's resolve.

Yokosuka Museum of Art, photo courtesy of Tomio Ohashi

Yokosuka Museum of Art, Image courtesy of Tomio Ohashi

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