Sobriety is in vogue, but it’s been David Chipperfield’s hallmark for a long time. The British architect received, at the age of 69, on Tuesday March 7, the highest distinction in his art, the Pritzker Prize, whose jury has liked to reward in recent years followers of sustainability, economy of means, concern existing heritage.
Born in London in 1953, David Chipperfield worked for renowned architects such as Norman Foster and Richard Rogers before founding his own firm in 1985. “As a young architect in England in the 1980s, I had no chance to succeed, he told the British daily, The Guardian. We had Margaret Thatcher and Prince Charles, the twin towers of negativity against the architectural profession! »
The architect therefore left to sell his talents in Asia, then in North America and finally in Europe. “David Chipperfield’s buildings are not immediately recognizable because they are designed for every circumstance”, emphasizes the Pritzker jury, which particularly appreciates his rehabilitation work.
“I am the guardian of the meaning, of the memory of the heritage”
He is particularly known for the renovation in the early 2000s of the Neues Museum in Berlin, part of whose premises had not been restored since their bombardment during the Second World War, and of the Palace of the Old Procuraties, which borders the mythical Piazza San Marco in Venice. It elegantly mixes old and modern, blending into the architecture of the time, to the point of being sometimes accused of academicism.
“As an architect, I am the guardian of meaning, memory and heritage,” says David Chipperfield, whose agency has also worked in France, participating in the transformation of the former administrative city of Paris. de Morland, delivered in 2022. Luxury and social housing, shops and restaurants, a hotel and a youth hostel coexist in a complex that is distinguished in particular by arcades at the base of the original building, creating a passage between the boulevard Morland and the quays of the Seine.
Most recently, his firm was chosen to renovate the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, the largest in Greece and one of the largest of its kind in the world, where he is to create 20,000 square meters of additional space. There is no doubt that he will do so with the sobriety that characterizes him.