Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal, founders of Lacaton & Vassal, have been awarded the 2021 Pritzker Architecture Prize, the highest honour in architecture.
The French duo are renowned for their sustainable approach towards architecture and are famous for their work on for the Palais de Tokyo, a contemporary art gallery in Paris.
They established Lacaton & Vassal in Paris in 1987, and in the following decades, have depicted their advocacy of social justice and sustainability through their designs of transformative projects. Generosity of space, usage of economical and ecological materials, and prioritization of the welfare of a building’s inhabitants are key features of their inspiring works.
They have worked on over 30 projects across Europe and Africa, which include educational institutions, social housing, and public places.
“Through their design of private and social housing, cultural and academic institutions, public spaces, and urban developments, Lacaton and Vassal re-examine sustainability in their reverence for pre-existing structures, conceiving projects by first taking inventory of what already exists,” the organisers of the award said in a statement.
“By prioritizing the enrichment of human life … they are able to benefit the individual socially, ecologically and economically, aiding the evolution of a city.”
Lacaton is an associate professor of Architecture and Design at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH Zurich (Zurich, Switzerland, since 2017), and a visiting professor at Polytechnic University of Madrid, Master in Housing (Madrid, Spain, since 2007) while Vassal is an associate professor at Universität der Künste Berlin (Berlin, Germany since 2012). Both have also taught at renowned universities across the world in their careers.
Their architectural firm has been the recipient of numerous awards in the past. Lacaton & Vassal has been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award, Trienal de Lisboa (2016); and the Fundació Mies van der Rohe, European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture (2019) along with Frédéric Druot Architecture and Christophe Hutin Architecture for the transformation of 530 Dwellings at Grand Parc, Bordeaux.
The Pritzker Architecture Prize was established in 1979 by the late entrepreneur Jay A Pritzker and his wife, Cindy. Winners receive a $100,000 grant and a bronze medallion.