Riken Yamamoto Receives the 2024 Pritzker Architecture Prize

The Pritzker Architecture Prize announces Riken Yamamoto, of Yokohama, Japan, as the 2024 Laureate of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, the award that is regarded internationally as architecture’s highest honor.

Yamamoto, architect and social advocate, establishes kinship between public and private realms, inspiring harmonious societies despite a diversity of identities, economies, politics, infrastructures, and housing systems. Deeply embedded in upholding community life, he asserts that the value of privacy has become an urban sensibility, when in fact, members of a community should sustain one another. He defines community as a “sense of sharing one space,” deconstructing traditional notions of freedom and privacy while rejecting longstanding conditions that have reduced housing into a commodity without relation to neighbors. Instead, he bridges cultures, histories and multi-generational citizens, with sensitivity, by adapting international influence and modernist architecture to the needs of the future, allowing life to thrive. “For me, to recognize space, is to recognize an entire community,” Yamamoto expresses. “The current architectural approach emphasizes privacy, negating the necessity of societal relationships. However, we can still honor the freedom of each individual while living together in architectural space as a republic, fostering harmony across cultures and phases of life.”

“One of the things we need most in the future of cities is to create conditions through architecture that multiply the opportunities for people to come together and interact. By carefully blurring the boundary between public and private, Yamamoto contributes positively beyond the brief to enable community,” explains Alejandro Aravena, Jury Chair and 2016 Pritzker Prize Laureate. “He is a reassuring architect who brings dignity to everyday life. Normality becomes extraordinary. Calmness leads to splendor.”

“Yamamoto develops a new architectural language that doesn’t merely create spaces for families to live, but creates communities for families to live together,” says Tom Pritzker, Chair of the Hyatt Foundation, which sponsors the award. “His works are always connected to society, cultivating a generosity in spirit and honoring the human moment.”

Riken Yamamoto / Photography: Tom Welsh
Ecoms House / Photography: Shinkenchiku Sha
Fussa City Hall / Photography: Sergio Pirrone
Future University of Hakodate / Photography: Isao Aihara
GAZEBO / Photography: Ryuuji Miyamoto
Hiroshima Nishi Fire Station / Photography: Tomio Ohashi
Hotakubo Housing / Photography: Tomio Ohashi
Iwadeyama Junior High School / Photography: Mitsumasa Fujitsuka
Jian Wai SOHO / Photography: Mitsumasa Fujitsuka
Koyasu Elementary School / Photography: Riken Yamamoto & Field Shop
Nagoya Zokei University / Photography: Riken Yamamoto & Field Shop
Pangyo Housing / Photography: Kouichi Satake
Saitama Prefectural University / Photography: Tomio Ohashi
Shinonome Canal Court CODAN / Photography: Tomio Ohashi
Tianjin Library / Photography: Riken Yamamoto & Field Shop
Yamakawa Villa / Photography: Tomio Ohashi
Yokosuka Museum of Art / Photography: Tomio Ohashi

His career has spanned five decades and his projects, ranging from private residences to public housing, elementary schools to university buildings, institutions to civic spaces, and city planning, are located throughout Japan, People’s Republic of China, Republic of Korea and Switzerland. Significant built works also include Nagoya Zokei University (Nagoya, Japan, 2022), THE CIRCLE at Zürich Airport (Zürich, Switzerland, 2020), Tianjin Library (Tianjin, People’s Republic of China, 2012), Jian Wai SOHO (Beijing, People’s Republic of China, 2004), Ecoms House (Tosu, Japan, 2004), Shinonome Canal Court CODAN (Tokyo, Japan, 2003), Future University Hakodate (Hakodate, Japan, 2000), Iwadeyama Junior High School (Ōsaki, Japan, 1996) and Hotakubo Housing (Kumamoto, Japan, 1991).

Yamamoto is the 53rd Laureate of the Pritzker Architecture Prize and the ninth to hail from Japan. He was born in Beijing, People’s Republic of China, and resides in Yokohama, Japan. He will be honored in Chicago, Illinois, United States of America this spring and the 2024 Laureate Lecture will be held at S. R. Crown Hall, Illinois Institute of Technology, in partnership with the Chicago Architecture Center, on May 16th, open to the public in-person and online.

About to Pritzker Architecture Prize
To honor a living architect or architects whose built work demonstrates a combination of those qualities of talent, vision, and commitment, which has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture.

The international prize, which is awarded each year to a living architect/s for significant achievement, was established by the Pritzker family of Chicago through their Hyatt Foundation in 1979. It is granted annually and is often referred to as “architecture’s Nobel” and “the profession’s highest honor.”