SANAA (Sejima – Nishizawa) won the 2010 Pritzker Prize

Japanese architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa have won the 2010 Pritzker Prize, joining the likes of Frank Gehry, Rem Koolhaas and Renzo Piano in receiving the profession’s highest honor.

The jury, who made their decision on sunday stated – ‘They explore like few others the phenomenal properties of continuous space, lightness, transparency and materiality.’

Among the works credited by the jury included their Christian Dior Building located in the Omotesando Shopping District in Tokyo, ‘o’ Museum in Nagano, the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York City and the recent Rolex Learning Center in Lausanne.

They seek the essential qualities of architecture that result in a much-appreciated straight forwardness, economy of means and restraint, ‘ quoted one of the jurors.

Sejima, who had previously worked in the offices of acclaimed japanese architect Toyo Ito, and Nishizawa formed their tokyo-based design firm SANAA ltd. in 1995. The duo were awarded the 2005 Rolf Schock Visual Arts Prize by Sweden’s Royal Academies in 2005.

The formal Pritzker ceremony will be held in May on Ellis Island, where the duo will also receive a 100 000 USD grant and bronze medallions.

Sejima is currently serving as the director of this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale, the first woman to do so.

We’re always thinking, ‘how we can open up the architecture to the people or to the surroundings that each project has?’ This is one of the reasons why our architecture becomes open and transparent and light,’ Nishizawa said.

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