In four decades, David Alan Chipperfield has designed and completed more than 100 buildings. For his work, which the Pritzker Prize jury describes as being characterised by “elegance, restraint, a sense of permanence, as well as clear compositions and refined detailing,” the exceptional British architect has now been honoured with the 2023 Pritzker Prize.
David Alan Chipperfield was born in London in 1953 and grew up on a farm in South West England. He attended Kingston School of Art and received a diploma in architecture from the Architectural Association in London in 1980. Four years later, he went into business for himself and founded David Chipperfield Architects, an architectural practice that now operates internationally with offices in Berlin, Shanghai and Milan, among other locations. His design of a shop for Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake marked Chipperfield’s breakthrough – first in Japan, then later in other Asian countries, Europe and North America. With the completion of the River and Rowing Museum in Henley-on-Thames in 1997, he celebrated his first major success in his home country.
Clear forms and the elimination of all things unnecessary also characterise Chipperfield’s designs when working on prestigious large-scale projects such as the America’s Cup Building (2006) in Valencia. The four-storey concrete building with elements of white-painted steel, metal panels and solid wood focuses on the essential, both functionally and visually.
The Bryant (2021) in New York City illustrates how modern design can blend into its original surroundings. Surrounded by historic buildings, the 32-storey high-rise houses a hotel, residential apartments and shops.
With his design for Amorepacific’s new headquarters in Seoul, Chipperfield created a building reflecting the identity and history of this Korean beauty company’s homeland. Hanging gardens, a central courtyard and the translucent façade are also a natural way to promote a pleasant indoor climate and improve the building’s environmental footprint.
Besides residential buildings, educational institutions and office buildings, the UK architect’s portfolio includes a particularly large number of cultural buildings, such as the Museo Jumex (2013) in a new district of Mexico City and the new Kunsthaus Zürich extension (2020).
In Germany, Chipperfield has primarily made a name for himself with his redesign of Berlin’s Museum Island. Most recently, Chipperfield refurbished the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin (2021), using modern methods to bring Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s iconic building up to date without impacting its original appearance.
The 69-year-old continues to work on projects around the world. These currently include an extension to the National Archaeological Museum in Athens and the new stadium for the 2026 Winter Olympics in Milan.
After a career spanning 40 years, Chipperfield has joined the ranks of international architects who have been awarded the ‘Nobel Prize of architecture’. The 2023 Pritzker Prize is the latest addition to a long list of awards and honours for his work, including the Riba Royal Gold Medal and the Heinrich Tessenow Medal. In 2010, he was elevated to the peerage of the United Kingdom.
The Pritzker Prize is regarded as the highest accolade in the architectural world and has honoured architects who have made “significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture” since 1979. Previous winners include Norman Foster (1999), Zaha Hadid (2004) and, most recently, Francis Kéré (2022).