Pritzker Architecture Prize names Alejandro Aravena as Chair of the Pritzker Architecture Prize Jury | News

Today, The Pritzker Architecture Prize announced the appointments of Alejandro Aravena as Chair of the Pritzker Architecture Prize Jury and Manuela Lucá-Dazio as an advisor to the Prize and the next Executive Director, beginning in March 2021.

“Throughout the history of the Prize, we have consistently relied on the diversity, expertise and standing of our jury members to interpret the evolving role of architecture as it responds to the changing needs of community, environment and technology. We are pleased to welcome back Alejandro Aravena, and in a renewed capacity as he brings with him a fresh model of leadership to steward our independent, international and esteemed jury,” said Tom Pritzker, Chairman of The Hyatt Foundation, which sponsors the award in a statement. “Likewise, we are delighted to work with Manuela Lucá-Dazio in this new season as we continue our privilege of honoring architects who have impressed upon the industry through the art of architecture and their service to humanity.”

Aravena was awarded the Pritzker Prize in 2016. He is the Founder and Executive Director of ELEMENTAL, a “Do Tank” that focuses on projects of public interest and social impact thorough housing, public space, infrastructure, and transportation. 

Archinect spoke with Aravena last year. One question posed to the Chilean architect was his quitting the Pritzker jury shortly before he was awarded the prize. The full conversation can be heard on the Archinect Sessions Podcast, Episode 144.

“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,” said Arevena in a recent statement. “I am honored to join this group effort aimed to improve the quality of the built environment.”

Aravena was the recipient of the 2019 ULI J.C. Nichols Prize, the 2018 RIBA Charles Jencks Award and the first architect to receive the Gothenburg Sustainability Award in 2017. He was Curator of the Venice Architecture Biennale 2016 and served on the Pritzker Prize Jury from 2009 to 2015.

Previous Jury Chairs include Justice Stephen Breyer (2019-2020), who remains as a member of the Jury; Glenn Murcutt (2017-2018); Lord Peter Palumbo (2005-2016) and the late J. Carter Brown (1978-2004). Current jurors also include. Current jurors also include Barry Bergdoll, a Meyer Schapiro Professor of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University, curator and author, New York, United States; Deborah Berke, architect and Dean of Yale School of Architecture, New York, United States; André Corrêa do Lago, architectural critic, curator, and Brazilian Ambassador to India, Delhi; Kazuyo Sejima, architect, educator and 2010 Pritzker Laureate, Tokyo, Japan; Benedetta Tagliabue, architect, Barcelona, Spain; and Wang Shu, architect, educator, and 2012 Pritzker Laureate, Hangzhou, China.

According to the Pritzker Architecture Prize, Manuela Lucá-Dazio most recently served as the Executive Director of the Department of Visual Arts and Architecture of La Biennale di Venezia. She has managed exhibitions with distinguished curators, architects, artists, and critics to realize the International Art Exhibition and the International Architecture Exhibition since 2009. She holds a PhD in History of Architecture from the University of Roma-Chieti, Italy and lives in Paris, France.

“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,” said Lucá-Dazio in a statement. “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.”

Moreover, Martha Thorne, Executive Director since 2005, will step down this coming March, following the announcement of the 2021 Laureate. She will serve as an advisor to the Prize through the 2021 ceremony and oversee the transition.

“We are incredibly grateful for the long and impactful tenure of Martha’s service to the Prize, as she has infused the utmost diplomacy and discretion within her role while bringing to the fore, especially in the composition of jury members, the overdue merit of women in the field of architecture,” said Tom Pritzker in a statement.

Reflecting on her stepping down, Thorne said in a statement: “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.”

Archinect spoke with Thorne on the Archinect Sessions Podcast, Episode 48 on the inner-workings of the prestigious award and to address the looming question at the time of the awarding of the 2016 Pritzker to Alejandro Arevena after he had recently left the Prize’s Jury.

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