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Chipperfield, precision and elegance


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La Voz de Galicia

Mariano González Presencio

Architect and lecturer at the University of Navarra School of Architecture

It was no surprise that the jury of the award Pritzker Prize, considered the most prestigious in architecture, awarded this year's prize to David Chipperfield, a professional with a vast body of work, of the highest level of quality and on the threshold of maturity. Chipperfield could be placed without disdain in the lineage of star architects, although those who have dealt with him emphasize his humility. He is a sure and reliable architect, not a friend of stridency; his work responds to a deep analysis of the problem and is resolved with a delicate attention to detail, from the order and rigor, and with an exquisite respect for public space.  

For some, his work, which they assume Exempt of risks, is boring and monotonous or excessively classical. Others of us deeply admire his poetics, based on a patient insistence on similar solutions already proven and, above all, on the skillful use of strategies such as repetition and limitation, which turn his work into a meditated speech around disciplinary tools.  

In any case, no one can deny the precision and elegance of its architecture. In it, Rafael Moneo's and John Pawson's teachings are present, giving continuity to a saga of architects who understand architecture as a public service, respectful of the environment and history, and the result of a discipline based on deep principles. 

Special mention should be made of accredited specialization for the care with which he has devoted himself to dialogue with the architectural heritage. In Berlin, his second home, he has left extraordinary works, such as the restoration (reinvention) of the Neues Museum or that of Mies van der Rohe's iconic Neue Nationalgalerie, in which he has concealed his intervention to the point of making it invisible. 

He is very close to Spain and especially to Galicia, where he has been spending his summers for many years. Here he built a simple vacation home in Corrubedo, designed with care overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, and recently he has also opened a studio in Santiago de Compostela. Other works in Spain include the City of Justice in Barcelona - the most important in size - and the Veles e Vents building in Valencia, perhaps the most iconic and daring. 

Before the Pritzker, he had already won the prestigious award Mies van der Rohe, the gold medal of the Royal Institute of British Architects and the Heinrich Tessenow Medal. He also holds the degree scroll de sir, awarded by the late Elizabeth II. For all these reasons, we offer our warmest congratulations to Sir David Chipperfield.