Christian de Portzamparc's new architecture is of our time, bound neither by classicism nor modernism. His expanded perceptions and ideas seek answers beyond mere style. It is a new architecture characterized by seeing buildings, their functions and the life within them, in new ways that require wide-ranging, but thoughtful exploration for unprecedented solutions.
Every architect who aspires to greatness must in some sense reinvent architecture; conceive new solutions; develop a special design character; find a new aesthetic vocabulary. Portzamparc's work exhibits all these characteristics. He has an unusually clear and consistent vision, devising highly original spaces that serve a variety of functions on an urban scale in the Cite' de la Musique, or a more personal individual scale in a housing project or the delightfully chic Cafr Beaubourg.
He is a gifted composer using space, structure, texture, form, light and color all shaped by his personal vision. This reinvented architecture, no matter how idiosyncratic or original, still has its common source in modernism, appropriately assimilated.
Portzamparc is the first French architect to be awarded the Pritzker Prize. It is a fitting tribute to the individual and to the rich tradition of French architecture that he represents. No other country, with the possible exception of Italy, has made such a contribution to the field of architecture through its buildings, its urban design and through the Beaux Arts educational system.
The Ecoles des Beaux Arts held sway over the minds of generations of architects for a century or more, and even in recent times has proven more tenacious and pervasive in its influence than is generally acknowledged. Its theories, doctrines and teaching methods still dominate architectural education in many parts of the world.
Portzamparc is a prominent member of a new generation of French architects who have incorporated the lessons of the Beaux Arts into an exuberant collage of contemporary architectural idioms, at once bold, colorful and original. His is an architecture that draws on French cultural tradition while paying homage to the master architect and countryman, Le Corbusier. It is a lyrical architecture that takes great risks and evokes excitement from its audience.
Portzamparc is a high wire artist with sure and confident footwork. Recognizing the talent of a powerful poet of forms and creator of eloquent spaces, who is aware of the past, but true to himself and his time, the Pritzker Architecture Prize honors Christian de Portzamparc, with the expectation that the world will continue to benefit richly from his creativity.