2010 Pritzker Prize: SANAA

SANAA 2010 Pritzker Prize laureate
Ryue Nishizawa and Kazuyo Sejima, Photo by Takashi Okamoto, Courtesy of

Today, the laureate has been announced: Japanese practice SANAA formed by Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa.

SANAA was following Steven Holl on the polls (my favorite for next year), a name that was very strong for the award since last year.

The awarded duo will receive the prize at a formal ceremony May 17 at Ellis Island, New York.

Works by SANAA at ArchDaily:

Cite: Basulto, David. "2010 Pritzker Prize: SANAA" 29 Mar 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 22 Aug 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=54195>


  1. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I’m personally extremely disappointed with this choice…

    Obviously, even being on the shortlist is evidence that enough people think that the work of SANAA is worth acknowledging, and I’m not disagreeing that the practice has produced some extremely well received buildings… However, in my opinion, several other architects on the shortlist were of a much greater design pedigree than SANAA, and furthermore that some other architects on the shortlist had much stronger portfolios of built work.

    The prize is supposedly awarded to architects who consistently produce “significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture”. I think my disappointment with SANAA as Pritzker Laureate, is that I’m unconvinced as to how much they’ve really contributed to humanity and the built environment, that we haven’t seen before.

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      “I’m personally extremely disappointed with this choice…”
      nobody cares…

      “a much greater design pedigree”
      are you serious???….

      • Thumb up Thumb down 0

        you obviously care, as you’ve obviously read it! it’s also obviously riled you enough for you to make a petty post about it too! lol @ you.

        i care too. believe it or not, there is a comments stream on every ad article for people to share their opinions!

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      hummm…I agree…I thought the Prizker Prize acknowledge the contribution to architecture…as difference to great architects.

  2. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I’m sure Ito is emotionally confused right about now… If I’m not mistaken SANAA were cut from his cloth and he was a worthy candidate for the award as well?

  3. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    The real question is when will Steven Holl win? His contributions to the world of art and architecture are much more plentiful and stronger than the work of SANAA.

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      Im also disappointed about it. .
      Pritzker should be considered as lifetime achievement award. .

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      I can hardly agree with your comment that Steven Holl is at the Pritzker level. Is there a work by him that is of true genuine originality…? Meanwhile I could name more than a handle of his work that not only did they not contribute positively, but indeed add negatively to the built world. If you could see how badly his MIT dorm works, how awfully it has aged… juxtaposing against the timeless beauty of Aalto’s across the other side of campus…

  4. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    they had my vote for sure. nothing wrong with “white blobs and glazing” if it’s done extremely well.

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      no, there isn’t, but there is countless practices that produce this architecture, many of which have been producing this architecture long before SANAA.

      i’ve got no problem with the architecture at all, and I’m certainly not questioning the quality SANAA’s work, i’m just unconvinced that repetitive and established architecture (whether you call it fashion, style, language) is deserving of the highest award in the profession, regardless of it’s mainstream appeal.

  5. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Well I think there is a minimalistic trend in the choice for Pritzker laureates. SANAA deserves this award. Congrats

  6. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    so all of the spectacular built work´s that steven holl have been doing doesn´t mean anything?

    from masterplaning, to big housing blocks and small houses, cultural buildings and museum´s. yes i would not choose you SANNA.

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      not even just steven holl though – so many more creative and talented architects around…

      • Thumb up Thumb down 0

        Don’t say uninformed judgement without knowing all the projects done by the Pritzker prize laureates. I respect them. Check out their projects first. Then you will understand why they were chosen for the prize.

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      SANAA have also made big housing blocks (Gifu), small houses (lots and lots of them, LOTS of them, many MANY more than Steven Holl), cultural buildings (Kanagawa, for example) and museums (which are cultural buildings.) They’ve also made gambling parlors, police boxes…

  7. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    just looking through all of SANAA work…

    not feeling the pritzker quality…

    sooo basic!? too bland for my senses.

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      their projects certainly look deceptively simple. if you guys haven’t yet, i’d suggest checking out their el croquis volumes to get a better sense of the structural and programmatically complex things they’ve done with such simple forms.

      although it might have made more sense for ito to win, i was rooting for sanaa and am glad they’ve won. well deserved.

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      May be Architecture need not be dealt in so detail that we get overwhelmed with the forms and aesthetics always…sometimes it needs to be answered with a simple, basic terminology understandable by the user.

      Yeah ur right..the Work of SANAA is not appealing to the hype of Pritzker Prize, but in a realistic functional way, it might be the best suited work.

      I hope one day…one of us will achieve the simplicity and true aesthetic sense of understanding the Architecture as it is always.


  8. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    im really going to stop reading this blog… all the haters. fyi there will be another awarded next year! an awesome japanesse firm won that does great work ive been to a majority of it. congratulations to the office and its cool to see another woman / team win. But i do wish the names didn’t just come from the archi top of the pops. and the award money is pretty funny… where do you think it goes? charity, laser cutter,bills,bose headsets, a motorcycle for the office? maybe a kick ass party for the office? does anyone know what its like working with sanaa in tokyo? more discussion and less negative trash would be nice. thx;)

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      Keep reading the blog just don’t read the comments! Comments sections are always out of hand if they aren’t moderated.

      When I visited SANAAs office I talked to an American who worked there. They work 7 days a week (or at least they did at the time, when Kanazawa was under construction). But she said they’d been working that schedule for the entire time she’d been working there.

  9. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    yes, they don´t do anything groundbreaking, or new. But they brought that “japaneese elegant minimalism” to perfection – whether they do a “blob” (?? do they ??), or a box, it is always extremely (radically) thin, light and delicate. And for that, they deserve the prize.

    I love holl and I would be happy if he won too – but SANAA deserve it equally

  10. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    yeah, what is the point of the money? 100K. so is the cooper hewitt,but they give out many more awards, the academy of arts and letters gives 100k i think and the noble prize is 1 mil and the genius grant is 1 mil … and are all awards funded by an extremely wealthy families? i don’t really have a point but, is this how taste is made…? and where does the money go? i guess to pay the billz or to build a couple models for presentation.

  11. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I think the people who don’t understand why SANAA won also don’t understand the level of skill and unbelievable amount of toil it takes to produce such simple, elegant details.

    I had the pleasure of taking a studio in arch. school led by Sejima and Nishizawa (as well as Yo Hakomori of WHy Architecture) and we got to go to their studio and watch their process and visit the museum in Kanazawa when it was under construction. Until you watch something like that coming together you can’t really know how complex their buildings really are. They’re realizing the details that Mies and Corb could only dream of.

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      i understand you, and i imagine how complex and planed are those projects. i really like then but comparing to holl´s career you can´t say that he would´t deserve it.

      it´s to much contribution for humanity and the city´s all over the world to lose for a bunch o delicate, clean e light volumes…

      • Thumb up Thumb down 0

        Holl is an all-time favorite of mine and it will be a shame if he never gets it. I’m guessing that he will, though, and soon.

        I would have been happy for either of them to have won.

  12. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I like Holl but probably it’s been a good choice not to jump into the China craze after some rather dubious Pritzkers. After all, SANAA are pretty good and it’s hard to say anything bad about them – while also avoiding the easy choices and dullness of, say, I.M. Pei and the excesses of, say, Nouvel.

  13. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I couldn’t be happier. What’s lost in all the talk about white nothing, and glazing is how breathtakingly original their programming and space planning is.

    They’re constantly experimenting and fully deserve this award.

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