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United Kingdom – London

The venerable British architect has been honored with the Pritzker Architecture Prize, the most prestigious award in the discipline. A good opportunity to look back at his career and work.

© James-Simon-Galerie, photo courtesy of Ute Zscharnt for David Chipperfield Architects

A multitude of typologies

In his architectural practice, collaboration has always been fundamental. “The reality is that good buildings come from a good process, and a good process means that you engage and collaborate with different forces,” he explains. Over four decades, he has produced more than 100 works, ranging in typology and location, from civic, cultural, and academic buildings to residences and urban master plans across Asia, Europe, and North America.

© James-Simon-Galerie, photo courtesy of Célia Uhalde

Companion to the greats

He worked under Douglas Stephen, Norman Foster (Pritzker Prize winner 1999), and the late Richard Rogers (Pritzker Prize winner 2007), before founding David Chipperfield Architects in London in 1985, which subsequently expanded globally via offices in Berlin (1998), Shanghai (2005), Milan (2006), and Santiago de Compostela (2022).

© Procuratie Vecchie, photo courtesy of Alessandra Chemollo

Landmark designs

His career began on Sloane Street in London, where he designed a boutique for the late Issey Miyake, and then moved to Japan. The River & Rowing Museum (Henley-on-Thames, UK, 1989-1997) was his first building in his native country. He continued his work abroad, with an early talent for reconstruction and reinvention, including the Neues Museum (Berlin, Germany, 1993-2009) and the newly built James Simon Gallery (Berlin, Germany, 1999-2018).

© River and Rowing Museum, photo courtesy of Richard Bryant / Arcaid
© Royal Academy of Arts Masterplan, photo courtesy of Simon Menges

Social and Environmental Welfare

As his practice becomes more prolific, his advocacy for social and environmental well-being increases, denouncing the commodification of architecture that serves global power rather than local society, and the lack of sustainability that contributes to the climate crisis. “Architects cannot operate outside of society. We need society to accompany us. […] Essentially, what we have to hope for now is that the environmental crisis forces us to reconsider society’s priorities, that profit is not the only thing that can motivate our decisions.”

© Saint Louis Art Museum, photo courtesy of Simon Menges
Saint Louis Art Museum, photo courtesy of Wesley Law

Affection for Galicia

In recent years, he has developed a deep affection and devotion for Galicia, Spain. By creating Fundación RIA in 2017, Chipperfield sponsors research, promotes ideas and development that foster the protection of local natural and built environments related to global challenges along the Ría de Arousa coast.

© The Neues Museum, courtesy of SPK / David Chipperfield Architects, photo Joerg von Bruchhausen

Lisa Agostini

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