Sponsored by The Hyatt Foundation


The Grand Trianon and Chateau of Versailles, Versailles, France

Versailles is world famous as France's site of the most lavish palace and gardens, possibly the greatest monument to absolute monarchy and the culmination of French Classicism. In the twentieth century, it was the site of the signing of a treaty in 1919, ending the First World War.

Originally, a hunting lodge built by Louis XIII was on the site in 1624. Over most of the rest of that century, new structures were built and added by Louis XIV, who in 1682 made it not only the court residence, but also the seat of government. In fact, Versailles was the capital of France for nearly a century. The architects of the Sun King Louis XIV were Louis Le Vau in the early years, and then Jules Hardouin-Mansart, who added the enormous north and south wings, the Chapel and the famous Hall of Mirrors. Charles Le Brun supervised the decoration, and the landscaping was planned by Le Notre, who also designed the Tuileries Gardens. It was Louis XIV who had the small palace of stone and pink marble, known as the Grand Trianon, built in 1687 as a less formal retreat. Louis XV was still making additions to the Chateau in 1770 when he had Jacques Gabriel design the opera house.

The presentation of the Pritzker Architecture Prize to architect Tadao Ando was made by Jay A. Pritzker, president of the Hyatt Foundation, in the Grand Trianon which was being used for the occasion by special authorization of the President of French Republic. It is usually reserved for official French government functions.

Following the presentation, ceremony guests continued on to the south wing of the Chateau of Versailles for a formal dinner served in the Hall of Battles. This hall, some 390 feet long by 43 feet wide, and two stories tall, was opened by King Louis Philippe in 1837 and contains 33 large paintings of historic scenes depicting French victories, including the earliest by Clovis in 496 C.E. to the 1809 victory of Napoleon at Wagram.