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Oh No! 5 Pritzker Laureates in One Place? Dallas Loses Its Architectural Superspecialness!


by Jerome Weeks 1 Oct 2009

One of the proud boasts made for Dallas’ Arts-District-plus-Victory-Park is that we will be showcasing the works of five-count-’em-five winners of architecture’s Big Win, the Pritzker — a never-before-accomplished collection of trophies because all five will be within a few blocks, although this won’t happen until 2013, when the fifth building, Thom Mayne’s Museum of […]

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One of the proud boasts made for Dallas’ Arts-District-plus-Victory-Park is that we will be showcasing the works of five-count-’em-five winners of architecture’s Big Win, the Pritzker — a never-before-accomplished collection of trophies because all five will be within a few blocks, although this won’t happen until 2013, when the fifth building, Thom Mayne’s Museum of Nature & Science, finally opens.

But now comes word that Provence, in the south of France, will also have an arts center designed by five Pritzker winners — and they’ll get it next year. This morning, Dallas civic and arts leaders may be seen in the streets, rending their shirts and throwing ashes upon themselves.

Turns out that Tadao Ando — the Japanese architect behind Fort Worth’s marvelous Modern Art Museum — has drafted the master plan and designed the 32,000-square-ft. main gallery for an arts center going up at the Chateau La Coste winery in Aix-en-Provence. It will also feature a music pavilion designed by Frank Gehry, a wine cellar by Jean Nouvel, and other structures by Renzo Piano, designer of the Nasher Sculpture Center, and Norman Foster, the architect of the Winspear Opera House. All five architects are past winners of the Pritzker.

The region around the winery has been immortalized in the paintings of Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin and Paul Cezanne — one reason Ando was interested in working there. The arts center site will also include an open-air sculpture garden, restaurant and small hotel with about 20 guest rooms.

The Bloomberg report is not clear on this point but perhaps we can squeak by with the claim that we have five full, independent structures by our Pritzker winners. I mean, “a wine cellar by Jean Nouvel”??

Oh well. We can always stop drinking French wine. Or start blaming the Irish.  The Aix-en-Provence center was commissioned by Irish property developer Patrick McKillen, a friend of U2’s Bono, for whom Ando is also designing a new home on the Irish coast.

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