Riken Yamamoto, the ultimate community architect, wins 2024 Pritzker Prize

Riken Yamamoto (Tom Welsh/Pritzker Prize)
Japanese architect Riken Yamamoto has been awarded the 2024 Pritzker Architecture Prize. The award jury cited his ability to blur the boundaries between public and private space and promote the role of architecture in the community.

Yamamoto said of his own work: “For me, to recognise space is to recognise an entire community. The current architectural approach emphasises privacy, negating the necessity of societal relationships.

“However, we can still honour the freedom of each individual while living together in architectural space as a republic, fostering harmony across cultures and phases of life.”

Pangyo Housing (Nam Goongsun/Pritzker Prize)

Born in Beijing in 1945, Yamamoto moved to Yokohama after the end of the Second World War. He then attended Nihon University, followed by a masters at Tokyo University of the Arts.

Yamamoto formed Riken Yamamoto & Field Shop in 1973. His belief that architecture can benefit entire communities was apparent in the design of Yamakawa Villa in 1977 and Hotakubo Housing in 1991, residences that unify natural and built environments.

Hiroshima Nishi Fire Station (Tomio Ohashi/Pritzker Prize)

Yamamoto taught at many institutions, such as Kanagawa University, Tokyo University of the Arts and the Nagoya Zokei University of Art and Design. His works can be seen throughout Japan and in China, Korea and Switzerland.

Alejandro Aravena, the 2016 Pritzker Prize Laureate, said of Yamamoto that he was “a reassuring architect who brings dignity to everyday life. Normality becomes extraordinary. Calmness leads to splendour”.

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