The architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, who run the Tokyo-based firm SANAA, were awarded the discipline’s top honor, the Pritzker Prize, yesterday. Though their built designs are mostly concentrated in Japan and Western Europe, we have an impressive if slightly uncharacteristic example of their work down on Bowery in the boxy, bizarrely weightless-looking stack of galleries they designed for the New Museum.
Most of their work (which also includes interior, furniture and product design) is characterized by a play of crisp, reflective walls and panes of stainless steel (like their Serpentine Gallery pavilion in London) and glass (like their pavilion at the Toledo Museum) that give their buildings an ethereal consistency, as if they don’t so much delimit space as frame views. They’re the third duo to ever win the Pritzker, and Sejima is only the second woman to snag the typically masculine field’s top spot. A New Museum retrospective of their work two years ago offered a concentrated survey of the architects’ excellent, often self-effacing work. (ArtForum)