In an artistic climate that too often looks backward rather than toward the future, where retrospectives are more prevalent than risk-taking, it is important to honor the architecture of Frank O. Gehry.
Refreshingly original and totally American, proceeding as it does from his populist Southern California perspective, Gehry's work is a highly refined, sophisticated and adventurous aesthetic that emphasizes the art of architecture.
His sometimes controversial, but always arresting body of work, has been variously described as iconoclastic, rambunctious and impermanent, but the jury, in making this award, commends this restless spirit that has made his buildings a unique expression of contemporary society and its ambivalent values.
Always open to experimentation, he has as well a sureness and maturity that resists, in the same way that Picasso did, being bound either by critical acceptance or his successes. His buildings are juxtaposed collages of spaces and materials that make users appreciative of both the theatre and the back-stage, simultaneously revealed.
Although the prize is for a lifetime of achievement, the jury hopes Mr. Gehry will view it as encouragement for continuing an extraordinary "work in progress," as well as for his significant contributions thus far to the architecture of the twentieth century.