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Pritzker 2014: The Latest Architecture and News

Rijksmuseum Revisited: The Dutch National Museum One Year On

01:00 - 15 April, 2014
Rijksmuseum Revisited: The Dutch National Museum One Year On, Atrium, April 2014. Image © James Taylor-Foster
Atrium, April 2014. Image © James Taylor-Foster

The Rijksmuseum, which reopened last year after a decade of restoration and remodelling, is a museum dedicated to “the Dutchness of Dutchness.” Pierre Cuypers, the building's original architect, began designing this neogothic cathedral to Dutch art in 1876; it opened in 1885 and has stood guard over Amsterdam's Museumplein ever since.

Over the centuries, the building suffered a series of poorly executed 'improvements': intricately frescoed walls and ceilings were whitewashed; precious mosaics broken; decorative surfaces plastered over; and false, parasitic ceilings hung from the walls. Speaking in his office overlooking the Rijksmuseum’s monumental south west façade, Director of Collections Taco Dibbits noted how the most appalling damage was incurred during the mid-20th century: “everything had been done to hide the original building […but] Cruz y Ortiz [who won the competition to redesign the Rijks in 2003] embraced the existing architecture by going back to the original volumes of the spaces as much as possible.”

For Seville-based Cruz y Ortiz, choosing what to retain and what to restore, what to remodel and what to ignore were, at times, difficult to balance. Cruz y Ortiz found their answer in the mantra: 'Continue with Cuypers'. They threw the original elements of the building into relief but did not act as aesthetes for the 'ruin'. In contrast to David Chipperfield and Julian Harrap's restoration of Berlin's Neues Museum, for instance, Cruz y Ortiz rigorously implemented a clean visual approach that favoured clarity over confusion. What is original, what is restored, and what is new mingle together in a melting pot of solid, understated architectural elements. Sometimes this approach contradicted Cuyper's original intentions; however, more often than not it complements them in a contemporary way.

Courtesy of Rijksmuseum. Image © John Lewis Marshall Courtesy of Rijksmuseum / Great Hall. Image © Jannes Linders Courtesy of Rijksmuseum / Gallery of Honour. Image © Iwan Baan Courtesy of Rijksmuseum / Cuyper's Library Restored. Image © Iwan Baan + 39

Jury Member Juhani Pallasmaa On Finding Less "Obvious" Pritzker Laureates

01:00 - 31 March, 2014

Last week, while the ArchDaily team was in Mexico City for the Mextrópoli Conference, we caught up with Pritzker Jury member Juhani Pallasmaa and asked him to shed some light onto the recent winners of one of architecture's highest honors. Watch Pallasmaa, a renowned Finnish architect and professor, explain what motivates his approach for recognizing architects in a world with "so much publicity."

"The Pritzker jury has now, for at least 5 years, tried to select architects who are not the most obvious names because there is so much publicity in the architectural world and we'd rather try to find architects who have not been published everywhere else..."

A Selection of Shigeru Ban's Best Work

01:00 - 24 March, 2014
Nine Bridges Golf Club. Image © Hiroyuki Hirai
Nine Bridges Golf Club. Image © Hiroyuki Hirai

Explore the architectural development of Pritzker Laureate Shigeru Ban - from his early, more minimalist residential work in the 90s to his experimental, undulating structures (2010's Pompidou Metz, Nine Bridges Golf Club) to his latest masterpiece in timber construction, Tamedia New Office Building (2013).

Paper Temporary Studio. Image © Didier Boy de la Tour Curtain Wall House. Image © Hiroyuki Hirai Centre Pompidou Metz. Image © Didier Boy de la Tour Nicolas G Hayek Center. Image © Hiroyuki Hirai + 28