Media Alert -- Announcement of the 2007 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate

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The 2007 Pritzker Laureate announcement will be made for publication on Thursday, March 29.

the profession's highest honor

The 2007 Pritzker Laureate announcement will be made for publication on Thursday, March 29.

The complete media kit will be posted on the PritzkerPrize.com web site on Wednesday, March 28 at 12 noon Pacific Daylight Time embargoed for publication on or after Thursday, March 29. The media kit consists of two PDF booklets: one for text and one for images. The latter contains images that are linked to high resolution images that may be downloaded for printing.

The Pritzker Architecture Prize was established by The Hyatt Foundation in 1979 to honor annually a living architect 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. It has often been described as "architecture's most prestigious award" or as "the Nobel of architecture."

The prize takes its name from the Pritzker family, whose international business interests are headquartered in Chicago. They have long been known for their support of educational, social welfare, scientific, medical and cultural activities. Jay A. Pritzker, who founded the prize with his wife, Cindy, died on January 23, 1999. His eldest son, Thomas J. Pritzker has become president of The Hyatt Foundation.

Many of the procedures and rewards of the Pritzker Prize are modeled after the Nobel Prize. Laureates of the Pritzker Architecture Prize receive a $100,000 grant, a formal citation certificate, and since 1987, a bronze medallion. Prior to that year, a limited edition Henry Moore sculpture was presented to each Laureate.

Nominations are accepted from all nations; from government officials, writers, critics, academicians, fellow architects, architectural societies, or industrialists, virtually anyone who might have an interest in advancing great architecture. The prize is awarded irrespective of nationality, race, creed, or ideology.

The nominating procedure is continuous from year to year, closing in November each year. Nominations received after the closing are automatically considered in the following calendar year. There are well over 500 nominees from more than 47 countries to date. The final selection is made by an international jury with all deliberation and voting in secret.

The presentation ceremonies move around the world each year, paying homage to the architecture of other eras and/or works by previous laureates of the prize. As the ceremony locations are usually chosen each year before the laureate is selected, there is no intended connection between the two.

On June 4, 2007 in London, The Banqueting House, the only building that survived the disastrous Whitehall Palace fire in 1698, will be the venue for the ceremony awarding this year's Pritzker Architecture Prize. The building with its ceiling murals by Peter Paul Rubens, was designed by Inigo Jones in 1619, and has been used over the centuries for many royal functions.

"Jones is credited with being the first Englishman to properly understand the rules of Classical and Renaissance architecture, primarily as defined by Vitruvius and Palladio respectively," explained Thomas J. Pritzker, president of The Hyatt Foundation. "So it is totally in keeping with our tradition of holding the ceremonies in locations that honor the history of architecture."

The international prize, often referred to as "the profession's highest honor," has been given in nine different countries in Europe, once in Jerusalem and just last year in Istanbul. Japan and Mexico have also hosted the ceremony. It has been held fifteen times in the United States.

One of the founding jurors of the Pritzker Prize, the late Lord Clark of Saltwood, also known as art historian Kenneth Clark, and perhaps best known for his television series and book, Civilisation, said at one of the ceremonies, "A great historical episode can exist in our imagination almost entirely in the form of architecture. Very few of us have read the texts of early Egyptian literature. Yet we feel we know those infinitely remote people almost as well as our immediate ancestors, chiefly because of their sculpture and architecture."

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