Syeven Holl Wins 2014 Praemium Imperiale International Arts Award

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Wednesday, July 16th, 2014
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American architect Steven Holl, whom critic Paul Goldberger has called “one of the most admired architects in the United States [and] a figure of international importance,” has won the Japan Art Association’s 2014 Praemium Imperiale International Arts Award.

He joins South African playwright Athol Fugard, whose provocative work helped bring the world’s attention to the outrage of apartheid, and Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, whose music, wrote Arthur Lubow in the New York Times, “reveals itself gradually, with a harmonic stillness that conjures up an alternative to hectic everyday existence.” Messrs. Fugard and Pärt are the first winners of the Praemium Imperiale from the African continent and Estonia, respectively.

The award, one of the most prestigious international prizes for painting, sculpture, architecture, music and theatre/film, brings with it 15 million yen (approximately $150,000). Presented annually by the Japan Art Association, it recognizes lifetime achievement in the arts in categories not covered by the Nobel Prize.

Also receiving the Praemium Imperiale are French painter Martial Raysse and Italian sculptor Giuseppe Penone. The Zinsou Foundation in Benin, West Africa, which provides free workshops, events and exhibitions of contemporary African Art, will receive the Japan Art Association’s 2014 Grant for Young Artists, which brings with it 5 million yen (approximately $50,000). Together, the winners of this year’s awards represent six countries and three continents.

The 2014 prizes will be presented in Tokyo on October 15. In addition to the monetary gift, each laureate will receive a specially-designed gold medal and a testimonial letter from Japan’s Imperial Highness Prince Hitachi, honorary patron of the Japan Art Association.

Steven Holl: NYC Architect with an International Practice
Steven Holl, who won the 2012 AIA Gold Medal, the 2010 RIBA Jencks Award and the 2009 BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award, works all over the world. His New York City portfolio includes Columbia University’s Campbell Sports Center, the Storefront for Art and Architecture, the newest Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle store, Pratt Institute’s Higgins Hall (new wing), New York University’s Department of Philosophy (interior) and the Hunters Point Community Library in Long Island City (in development).

Notable projects elsewhere in the US include the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art Bloch Building Addition (Kansas City, MO), named “#1 Architectural Marvel of 2007” by Time Magazine, and the Chapel of St Ignatius at Seattle University (Seattle, WA). Current American commissions include the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Expansion (Washington, DC) and new facilities for the Museum of Fine Arts Houston (Houston, TX), the Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond, VA), and the Visual Arts Building at the University of Iowa (Iowa City, IA).

Among Mr. Holl’s completed commissions abroad are the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art in Helsinki (Finland) and the Vanke Center in Shenzhen (China). He has projects in development in China, Colombia, Denmark and the United Kingdom.

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