Hans Hollein was born in Vienna, Austria in 1934. From his earliest school days, he manifested a talent for drawing. Although he chose architecture as his profession, his works of art are in many public and private collections around the world.

He has been described as far more than an architect—artist, teacher, author, and a designer of furniture and silverware. He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture, in Vienna in 1956. He was awarded a Harkness Fellowship which afforded him the opportunity travel in the United States. He undertook graduate work at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, and completed his Master of Architecture degree at the University of California, Berkeley in 1960. During those same years, he was able to meet and study with some of the architects he most admired, including Mies van der Rohe, Frank Lloyd Wright and Richard Neutra.

It is characteristic of his curiosity and humor that when he learned there are seven towns or cities in the United States, all bearing the name, "Vienna," he took the time to visit all of them. This was while touring the country in a second-hand Chevrolet.

After working in architectural firms in Sweden and the United States, he settled in Vienna where his first commission in 1965 was what Architectural Forum magazine described as "even smaller than most first commissions: a shop and showroom 12 feet wide for a candle maker." They added however that "it brought him an enthusiastic client and a prominent location on a fashionable Vienna street."

Known as the Retti Candleshop, Hollein's accomplishment of this minor commission brought him international attention, including the $25,000 Reynolds Memorial Award. It was the first time in a decade that the award had gone to a work that cost less than the prize.

In 1970, he won praise for his first commission in New York, the Richard Feigen Gallery. The February, 1970 issue of Progressive Architecture headlined an article about the building, "Architectural Faberge," and further that Hollein's design combined "an architect's sense of space with a goldsmith's sense of craft to produce an exquisite ambiance for art."

The same article called Hollein "one of the few contemporary architects with the skill, the wit, and the financial backing to recreate the intimate luxury of Versailles' private chambers," and harked back to the Retti Candleshop as "Hollein's earlier masterpiece." Not surprisingly, other commissions in this very specialized genre of shops followed, including two jewelry stores for Schullin in Vienna, which again gained international acclaim. More recently, he completed a retail shop for the Beck Company in the Trump Tower in New York.

Gradually, his numerous proposals and studies yielded other types of structures as well, from single family residences, to apartment houses, offices and museums. In 1978, he completed a Tourist Office in Vienna. By 1982, he had completed the Municipal Museum Abteiberg, in Monchengladbach near Dusseldorf. This major work brought further acclaim and additional opportunities for projects of a similar nature. The same year that he was named Pritzker Laureate, he won two international competitions, one for a Museum of Modern Art in Frankfurt and another for a Cultural Forum in Berlin. Also in that same year, he designed a major exhibition on Viennese culture, entitled "Dream and Reality," which opened in Vienna and then made several other stops around the world. One of his best-known exhibits was for the opening of the Cooper-Hewitt Museum in New York, "MANtransFORMS," on the aspects of design.

Hollein has recently proposed, according to Bill Lacy, secretary to the Pritzker Prize Jury "an audacious subterranean design for a branch of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York for Salzburg. With its hybrid manmade and natural forms of sheer cliff like rooms and with spectacular light shafts, Hollein has once again demonstrated his penchant for the elegant and the dramatic." 

Hans Hollein, an Austrian architect whose work is acclaimed around the world, was today named the 1985 Laureate of the Pritzker Architecture Prize. He is the seventh architect to be so honored, and the third from outside the United States.

Consisting of a $100,000 tax-free grant and a bronze sculpture by Henry Moore, the international Pritzker Architecture Prize was established in 1979 to reward a creative endeavor not honored by the Nobel Prizes.

Jay A. Pritzker, president of The Hyatt Foundation that sponsors the prize, presented the check to Hollein today at the Museum of Modern Art. The sculpture will be presented in a formal ceremony at the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California on May 10.

The distinguished international panel of jurors that made the selection this year consists of J. Carter Brown, director of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., who served as chairman; Giovanni Agnelli, chairman of Fiat in Torino, Italy; J. Irwin Miller, chairman, executive and finance committees of the Curnmins Engine Company of Columbus, Indiana; Thomas J. Watson, chairman emeritus of IBM Corporation; and three architects, Ricardo Legorreta of Mexico City; Fumihiko Maki of Tokyo; and 1982 Pritzker Prize Laureate, Kevin Roche of Hamden, Connecticut.

In making the presentation, Pritzker quoted from the jury's citation which describes Hollein as "an architect who is also an artist… one who with wit and eclectic gusto draws upon the traditions of the New World as readily as upon those of the Old, " and further, saluting him "as a superb teacher, who urges the young by his example to take big chances, and yet making sure that the designed remains of paramount importance, not the designer.

Brendan Gill, noted author and journalist who is secretary to the jury, in announcing the Laureate, praised Hollein as "that comparatively rare thing in contemporary architecture, an artist-architect, combining great technical prowess with a gift for astonishing the ' eye. His buildings, like his drawings, have a playful seductiveness. One is happy in their presence."

Hollein, who is 51, recently won international competitions to design the Museum of Modern Art in Frankfurt, and the Cultural Forum in Berlin. One of his most famous commissions is the Municipal Museum Abteiberg at Monchengladbach, near Dusseldorf, completed in 1982.

His first commission in 1965 was the small Retti Candleshop in Vienna, which gained him worldwide recognition. He has since done a number of stores, including two Schullin Jewelry Shops in Vienna, and a Beck Department store branch in Trump Tower in New York. Another example of his work in New York is the Richard L. Feigen Gallery completed in 1969. He currently has projects in development for an apartment house in Berlin, a social housing project in Vienna, and office buildings.

Although his architecture is relatively rare in the United States, he received his Master of Architecture degree from the University of California, Berkeley in 1960, and had previously studied with Mies van der Rohe at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, as well as Frank Lloyd Wright in Wisconsin. He credits a Harkness Fellowship, which he won in 1956, with making it possible to travel to this country following his graduation from the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna.

He is a frequent visiting professor at Yale University in New Haven and Washington University in St. Louis. He is an active teacher in his own country as well, being a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture in Dusseldorf, and head of the Institute of Design, Academy of Applied Arts in Vienna.

In addition to his architectural accomplishments, he is a designer of not only furniture and products, but of exhibitions. One of the latter has just opened to critical praise in Vienna, titled "Dream and Reality,' an exhibit of Viennese cultural history. He has many other exhibition design credits, including one, for the opening of the Cooper-Hewitt Museum in New York.

Art works by Hollein are in collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Foundacion Miro, Barcelona; the Municipal Museum, Monchengladbach; and the Padiglione dlArte Contemporanes, Milan; as well as many private collections.

Hollein's numerous other awards include two Reynolds Memorial Awards in the U.S., the City of Vienna's Architecture Prize, the German Architecture Award, and the Austrian State Award for Environmental Design.


Read Hans Hollein's Essay

The Pritzker Prize Jury honors Hans Hollein as a master of his profession—one who with wit and eclectic gusto draws upon the traditions of the New World as readily as upon those of the Old. An architect who is also an artist, he has the good fortune to design museums that are then eager to place within their walls works of art from his hand, whether in the form of drawings, collages, or sculpture. In the design of museums, schools, shops, and public housing, he mingles bold shapes and colors with an exquisite refinement of detail and never fears to bring together the richest of ancient marbles and the latest in plastics. The Jury salutes him as a superb teacher, who urges the young by his example to take big chances and yet make sure that not the designer but the thing designed remains of paramount importance. Unflaggingly, he continues to practice what he proclaimed upon behalf of his fellow architects a quarter of a century ago, at the beginning of his distinguished career: "We give back to man the joy of building."

Jury Members

J. Carter Brown (Chairman)
Giovanni Agnelli
Philip Johnson
Ricardo Legorreta
Fumihiko Maki
J. Irwin Miller
Kevin Roche
Thomas J. Watson, Jr.
Brendan Gill (Secretary to the Jury)
Arthur Drexler (Consultant to the Jury)

The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, California

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens are located twelve miles from Los Angeles near Pasadena, California, in the city of San Marino. It is a private, nonprofit research and educational center set amidst 120 acres of breathtaking gardens. Three art galleries and a library showcase magnificent collections of paintings, sculptures, rare books, manuscripts, and decorative arts. The botanical collection features over 14,000 different species of plants. 

Originally the residence of Henry E. Huntington (1850-1927), the main house was designed by Los Angeles architects Myron Hunt and Elmer Grey. It was built during the years 1909-1911 with the Main Gallery added in 1934. Most of the interiors are modeled on French and English rooms of the eighteenth century. Noted landscape designer, Beatrix Farrand, collaborated on the grounds designs of the 1930s, which reflect themes from around the world.

Henry Huntington, a key figure in the railroad and real estate development of Southern California in the early twentieth century, was also an active collector of rare books and manuscripts, art, and plants.  By the time he established the institution in 1916, he and his wife, Arabella, had amassed an extensive collection focusing on British and American history, literature, and art, as well as rare and spectacular plant specimens. Opened to the public in 1928, the institution today serves scholars conducting advanced research in the humanities.  The library’s rare books and manuscripts constitute one of the world’s largest and most extensively used collections in America outside of the Library of Congress.

The 1985 ceremony and dinner celebrating the awarding of the seventh Pritzker Architecture Prize took place on the spectacular and historic grounds of the Huntington.


Read Hans Hollein's Ceremony Acceptance Speech

Read Jay Pritzker's Ceremony Speech

hans hollein ceremony
Jay and Cindy Pritzker with Hans Hollein



Ceremony Highlights

Full Ceremony