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Ceremony Speech

Jacques Toubon
Minister of Culture, France

Mister Mayor, Mister Chairman. I try to say some words in English to express my feelings tonight. They are very simple. From a personal point of view, I am very happy to be here to congratulate Christian de Portzamparc, because Christian is a friend of mine and I appreciate the architect, the artist, and the man, and Elizabeth and his two sons. And if I am here tonight, after a very short flight, and tomorrow morning, the same in the other way. It's why the dinner was very important for me. Because I think that in certain circumstances we have to be there to be with our friends, and Christian is a friend. And I think for some of you, who don't know Christian, it will be in the future perhaps a friend, too, because he's really a guy who is worth to know, and we should work to be friends with him. So my first feeling is a personal one.

But as Minister of Culture from France, I would say that this night, this dinner is a very important event, a very important event because it's the first time that a French architect is a laureate of the Pritzker Prize, which is called in France the Nobel Prize for architecture. But it's not totally important for this reason. It's important, too, because as Carter Brown said just a minute before me, it's a very special moment for the relations between France and America, and especially for the relations about culture and arts.

And I think, from my point of view, for my part, that our relations have to be very friendly and cooperative relations. And in this field of culture for movies, for television, for books, for art, and for music, for all things like that. And this prize, this Pritzker Prize for Christian de Portzamparc, it's a very important event because it means a very special regard from America on French culture and a very special thanks from France to America. Frank Gehry was a previous Laureate of the Pritzker Prize, and he just completed now in Paris the famous American Center last week.

It's said that art and architecture came from the same sources. I agree with that. And I feel that sometimes in the modern architecture, there is ... the art is not too much present. I regret that. But for Christian, and for people like you, for Jay Pritzker, for Mr. Miller, art and architecture are in the same spirit. And that's why I am very happy tonight. Because for France, for French people, for European people, and for people like Christian, architecture is probably the first of the arts, the origin of the arts, and probably the most important for people, because it is where they live, And if they live very well, its because of architecture, and if not very well, it's because of architecture too.

So it's a very important event. And I would thank you very much on behalf of the French government, the Pritzker Prize, Jay Pritzker, (to Jury, Mr. Miller, all the people of Columbus, today, tomorrow, tonight, Christian de Portzamparc. I visited Columbus this afternoon. It's, Mr. Mayor, a marvelous town, a really marvelous collection of piece of arts and of architecture. I was very happy to see those marvelous pieces under the sun of Indiana. I thank you very much. I thank Mr. Miller for his marvelous idea to commission such a project since 1957 in Columbus. I thank very much the Pritzker Prize and Jay Pritzker, and all the people there, because for me and for France, it is a recognition, a very important one. And I think for Christian it's perhaps the best day of his life. And so I am very happy with him. Thank you.