Sponsored by The Hyatt Foundation

Ceremony Speech

Bill Lacy
Secretary to the Jury

Good evening ladies and gentlemen; Excellency, Mr. President of the Basque Country; Excellency, Mr. President of Biscay; Friends of Architecture, and Friends of Sverre Fehn.

I am Bill Lacy, Executive Director of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, and in my spare time, President of Purchase College.

It is my pleasure to welcome you to this evening's program in Bilbao, one of the most exciting cities in Europe. We are here to celebrate the career and life's work of Sverre Fehn, and his elevation to membership in a very small and elite group, the Laureates of the Pritzker Architecture Prize.

The Pritzker Architecture Prize was created to correct an omission of architecture from the Nobel prizes. And it has, in the past eighteen years, risen to a position of great esteem in the field and raised the general public's awareness of the importance that architecture plays in their lives.

Since the Prize's founding to the present, the practice of architecture has changed in many ways. Often it seems in today's culture that we are media driven, that architects are more interested in building careers than in building great buildings, large and small. That is one of the reasons that tonight's honoree, Sverre Fehn, stands apart.

He has labored long and hard in his beautiful Norway, not necessarily to be famous, but to be responsible to his great talent. His career exemplifies an earlier, more durable model of the great architect, one who serves his clients well, many of whom are present this evening to acknowledge Fehn's contribution to architecture and to their lives.

Sverre Fehn and the late James Stirling taught together at the Architectural Association in London many years ago. And when Jim was notified that he had been awarded the third Pritzker Architecture Prize, Fehn congratulated him and said how great an honor it was. Stirling replied, "Don't worry, one day you will win it also." Today is that day.