German Architect Gottfried Böhm is the 1986 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate
Gottfried Böhm, a third generation architect from Cologne, Federal Republic of Germany, was announced today as the 1986 Laureate of the Pritzker Architecture Prize. He is the eighth recipient of the prestigious international award, and the fourth to be selected from outside the United States.
Böhm's work is primarily in Europe, but he has designed buildings in Formosa and Brazil as well. Such projects as the City Hall of Bensberg, the Church of the Pilgrimage at. Neviges, and the Zueblin corporate building in Stuttgart have brought international acclaim.
Jay A. Pritzker, president of The Hyatt Foundation, which established the prize in 1979 to reward a creative endeavor not honored by the Nobel Prizes, presented a $100,000 tax-free grant to Böhm today at The Museum of Modern Art. A formal award ceremony will be held at the Goldsmiths' Hall in London on May 7. At that time, Böhm will receive the symbol of the prize, a bronze sculpture by Henry Moore.
Pritzker described Böhm as "an excellent choice by our distinguished jury. Each of the Laureates has been honored for achievements demonstrating a combination of talent, vision, and commitment that consistently produces work to enhance the environment, and therefore humanity as well. Böhm's buildings excel by all of these criteria."
Noted author and journalist Brendan Gill, secretary to the Pritzker jury, announced Böhm as the 1986 Laureate to an impressive gathering of architects and architectural writers. He praised Böhm's work, saying, "As little known in the United States as he is well-known in Europe, for forty years Böhm has succeeded in interpreting and transforming the architectural riches of past centuries into contemporary structures, thrilling in themselves."
The jury making the selection consisted of J. Carter Brown, director of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., who served as chairman; Giovanni Agnelli, chairman of Fiat in Torino, Italy; Thomas J. Watson, chairman emeritus of IBM Corporation; and three architects, Ricardo Legorreta of Mexico City, Fumihiko Maki of Tokyo; and 1982 Pritzker Prize Laureate, Kevin Roche of Hamden, Connecticut.
In making the award to Böhm, the jury's citation read as follows: "Son, grandson, husband and father of architects, Gottfried Böhm has reason to recognize the nourishment that traditional ways and means, handed down from one generation to the next, provide in architecture, as in all the arts.
"In the course of a career of over forty years, he has taken care to see that the elements of his work which suggest the past also bear witness to his ready acceptance, whether in the design of churches, town halls, public housing, or office buildings, of the latest and best in our contemporary technology.
The citation continued, "His highly evocative handiwork combines much that we have inherited from our ancestors with much that we have but newly acquired—an uncanny and exhilarating marriage, to which the Pritzker Architecture Prize is happy to pay honor."
Böhm, who is 66, began his practice in 1947 working for his father, Dominikus, famous throughout Europe primarily for his church designs. In 1948, he married Elisabeth Haggenmueller, also an architect. They now have four, sons, three of whom are architects.
The recipient of many honors in his own country, he has been honored around the world as a guest professor at many universities. His drawings and renderings of preliminary designs have been highly praised and currently a collection of these drawings is touring the United States. It was most recently shown at the University of Pennsylvania and will open in Chicago at the Graham Foundation on April 28. The University of Maryland and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are also on the exhibition schedule for later this year.