Austrian architect Hans Hollein yesterday became the seventh winner of the $100,000 Pritzker Architecture Prize, an annual award established in 1979 to honor the "lifetime contributions" of living architects from around the world.
The selection of Hollein, 51, for the prestigious international prize is unusual in that his most widely known built projects to date are relatively small -- sleek showrooms and shopfronts for stores in his native Vienna and in Munich and New York, or eclectic interiors such as the colorful Austrian Tourist Office in Vienna and the town hall offices in Perchtoldsdorf, Austria.
A major Hollein-designed public structure, the Municipal Museum Abteiberg at Mo nchen-Gladbach, a small town near Du sseldorf, West Germany, was completed in 1982, and he recently placed first in separate international competitions to design a Cultural Forum in Berlin and a Museum of Modern Art in Frankfurt.
Hollein accepted the tax-free prize from Chicago financier Jay A. Pritzker at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Writer Brendan Gill, secretary to the seven-member jury, commented that Hollein's "buildings, like his drawings, have a playful seductiveness. One is happy in their presence."
Hollein's style is characterized by the use of rich materials in unlikely juxtapositions and by unusual, and sometimes humorous, combinations of traditional and contemporary images. A column in the Austrian Tourist Bureau, for instance, begins at the bottom with a white classical base and a fluted shaft only to be interrupted about halfway up by a gleaming high-tech cylinder of polished steel.
His career also is distinguished by its breadth. Besides buildings and interiors, he has designed stage sets, exhibitions, corporate logos, furniture, lighting and silverware for firms, institutions and governments in Europe, the United States and Japan, and his drawings have been widely exhibited. An influential teacher, Hollein has been a full professor at the Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture, in D usseldorf since 1967, and has headed the School and Institute of Design at the Academy of Applied Arts in Vienna since 1976. He has been a visiting professor at Washington University in St. Louis and at Yale University in New Haven, Conn.
Hollein was born in Vienna in 1934 and graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture, there in 1956. He did graduate work under Ludwig Mies van der Rohe at the Illinois Institute of Technology and completed his master of architecture degree at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1960. During this period, while traveling in the United States in a secondhand Chevrolet, he visited seven American towns and cities bearing the name Vienna.
The Pritzker jury consists of National Gallery of Art director J. Carter Brown, chairman; Torino Fiat chairman Giovanni Agnelli; J. Irwin Miller of the Cummins Engine Co.; IBM chairman emeritus Thomas J. Watson; and architects Ricardo Legorreta of Mexico, Fumihiko Maki of Japan and Kevin Roche, himself a Pritzker laureate, of the United States.
Previous winners of the Pritzker Prize are, in chronological order, Philip Johnson, Luis Barragan, James Stirling, Roche, I.M. Pei and Richard Meier.