American architect Kevin Roche, of Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates, was today named the fourth annual recipient of the international Pritzker Architecture Prize, specifically created in 1979 to honor a branch of human endeavor overlooked by the Nobel Prizes. Along with the prestige of recognition, Roche receives a specially created Henry Moore sculpture and $100,000 tax-free.
In Europe, he has a number of completed projects that have won high praise from critics, including a residence in Bordeaux, France; the Educatorium, a multifunction building for Utrecht University in the Netherlands; the master plan and Grand Palais for Lille, France which is his largest realized urban planning project; and the Kunsthal, providing exhibition space, a restaurant and auditoriums in Rotterdam.
Jay A. Pritzker, president of the Hyatt Foundation that administers and funds the prize, made the announcement at a press conference at the Whitney Museum of Art in New York City. He presented Roche with the check, and promised delivery of the Moore sculpture at a formal banquet planned for Chicago's Art Institute on May 19.
He also read the citation from the jury, as follows: "In this mercurial age, when our fashions swing overnight from the severe to the ornate, from contempt for the past to nostalgia for imagined times that never were, Kevin Roche's formidable body of work sometimes intersects fashion, the Robert Lehman Pavilion and the Michael C. Rockefeller Primitive Art Wing.
In California, Roche designed the innovative Oakland Museum. His arts and education projects in other parts of the country include the Denver Center for the Performing Arts; the Fine Arts Center of the University of Massachusetts; the J.M. Moudy Building for Visual Arts and Communication at Texas Christian University, Ft. Worth; and the Creative Arts Center, Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut.
He has built a wide array of corporate structures, including the new buildings of the John Deere Company in Illinois; the College Life Insurance Company of America buildings in Indianapolis; Aetna Life and Casualty Computer Building in Hartford, Connecticut; the headquarters of the Cumins Engine Company in Columbus, Indiana; and Richardson-Vicks in Wilton, Connecticut. Three other major projects are nearing completion: the corporate headquarters for General Foods in Rye, New York; Conoco in Houston; and Union Carbide in Danbury, Connecticut. In New Haven, he also built the headquarters for the Knights of Columbus and the New Haven Coliseum.
Among his most recent commissions are the Central Park Zoo, announced just last week by the City of New York; and the De Witt Wallace Museum of Fine Arts in Colonial Williamsburg.
Over the past two decades, Roche has designed some 51 major projects. Arthur Drexler, director of the department of architecture and design of the Museum of Modern Art, and consultant to the jury, has described Kevin Roche as "an architect who makes technology serve his art. His quietly spectacular buildings reveal the fantastic in twentieth century urban life."
Roche was chosen by a prestigious international panel: J. Carter Brown, director of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Lord Clark of Saltwood (Kenneth Clark), British author and art historian; Arata Isozaki, noted Japanese architect and critic; Philip Johnson, architect and 1979 Pritzker Prize Laureate; J. Irwin Miller, architectural patron; Cesar Pelli, architect and Dean of the School of Architecture, Yale University; and Thomas J. Watson, Jr., Chairman Emeritus, IBM Corporation. Carleton Smith, to whom King Gustavus VI Adolphus of Sweden suggested the prize, serves as secretary to the jury. Arthur Drexler, as consultant to the jury, reviews and screens a1l those nominated.
In making the announcement, Pritzker restated the aims of the prize, saying, "The Pritzker Architecture Prize was established in 1979 to honor the achievements of pre-eminent architects all over the world. The award is given annually to a living architect whose work demonstrates a combination of talent, vision and commitment that has produced a consistent and significant contribution to humanity and the environment."
The jury further amplified the purpose with the statement, "The Pritzker Prize is given yearly to an architect in recognition of his or her contribution to our society, as represented by the artistic merit of a substantial body of built work. It is given for built architecture, and not for drawings, proposals, theories or writings on architecture. It is given for architecture as art."