French architect Christian de Portzamparc has been named the 2018 laureate of the the Praemium Imperiale Arts Award for Architecture. The prize, given by by the Japan Art Association (JAA), recognized de Portzamparc for his “imaginative architectural style…known for its distinctive features such as bold designs, an artistic approach and the creativity that comes from his work as a watercolor painter.”

Christian de Portzamparc gained prominence in the early 1990s following the completion of the Cite de la Musique in Paris. The urban-scale music complex marked a significant shift in French public architecture for the time, moving past traditional Beaux-Arts construction and ushering in a new age in French design. De Portzamparc was awarded the Pritzker Prize for Architecture in 1994, described by the jury as “…a gifted composer using space, structure, texture, form, light and colour all shaped by his personal vision. This reinvented architecture, no matter how idiosyncratic or original…”

Other notable works include the Philharmonie Luxembourg, the Credit Lyonnais Tower in Lille, the Cidade das Artes in Rio de Janeiro, and the House of Dior in Seoul.

This is the 30th year the Praemium Imperiale International Arts Award has been given, recognizing “outstanding contributions to the development, promotion and progress of the arts” in the fields of architecture, painting, sculpture, music, and theatre/film. Past winners in the architecture category include Rafael MoneoJames StirlingTadao AndoAlvaro SizaRichard Rogers,   Zaha HadidPeter ZumthorDavid ChipperfieldSteven HollDominique Perrault and Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron.

The other 2018 laureates are:

  • Painting: Pierre Alechinsky

  • Sculpture: Fujiko Nakaya

  • Music: Riccardo Muti

  • Theatre/Film: Catherine Deneuve

The 2018 awards ceremony will be held 23 October in Tokyo, where laureates will be presented with a uniquely-design gold-medal, a testimonial letter, and a 15 million yen (approximately $135,000) prize.


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