Riken Yamamoto wins the 2024 Pritzker Architecture Prize Yamamoto's postwar childhood in Japan shaped his interest in the interplay of architecture and community. The jury of the prestigious architecture award cited the intergenerational power of his work.

Riken Yamamoto, who designs dignity and elegance into daily life, wins Pritzker Prize

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

The winner of the most prestigious award in architecture was announced today. NPR's Neda Ulaby tells us about the newest Pritzker Prize laureate.

NEDA ULABY, BYLINE: The laureate spoke to me from Japan, where Riken Yamamoto grew up amid the ruins of World War II.

RIKEN YAMAMOTO: And Tokyo is nothing - was nothing at the moment - bombing by the American. And my father made my family house by himself.

ULABY: Because there were so few houses. Now Riken Yamamoto has built houses and universities, commercial complexes and municipal buildings in Japan, China, Korea and Switzerland, says Pritzker juror Deborah Berke.

DEBORAH BERKE: They're not necessarily monumental. They're really about bringing dignity to everyday life, elegance to everyday life.

ULABY: Berke is also dean of the Yale School of Architecture. One of her favorite buildings by Riken Yamamoto is the Yokosuka Museum of Art, built on a bay in Japan. A video by the museum shows its cavernous galleries and sheets of glass that seemed to run right into the water.

BERKE: Allowing you, as a visitor, to feel part of something larger. That was magical for me.

ULABY: Also magical is a transparent firehouse in Hiroshima. It's sheathed in glass louvers so people can watch what the firefighters are doing.

YAMAMOTO: That place is very popular for the children.

ULABY: Pritzker winner Riken Yamamoto says he wants architecture to be a welcoming threshold and to reveal how beautifully communities can function. Neda Ulaby, NPR News.

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