Meaning Inquiry for 21st Century Architecture through the Pritzker Prize Laureates


Abstract Globalization and digitalization in 21st century have been affecting the notions and conceptions of societies. Inevitably, architecture has been following, even forming, these advancements. The aim of the architect is to create meaningful architecture that is adequate for occupants’ needs as meaningful architecture refers to a set of intentions, visions and solutions that can be provided by design, guiding the architectural process from concept formation to construction and use. Present study proposes ameaning model for understanding / diagnosing the sources of meaning in 21st century architecture. Reality, expression and purpose –three fluid and permeable criteria- were proposed as the variables of the model and architectures of the Pritzker Prize laureates 2000-16 were examined accordingly. Since laureates produced numerous buildings and Pritzker assessments cover lifetime careers, only one building that was considered to be compatible with the 21st century of each laureate was exemplified. Pritzker Prize announcements and materials in the social media, such as web-pages, magazine articles, critical writings and video recordings, were reviewed while considering each architect’s discourse. The study diagnosed, (i) technology, (ii) timelessness, (iii) inclusiveness and (iii) humanitarianism being generic in creating meaningful architecture in 21st century. The study is unique; it is impartial in structuring the meaning model and it considers 2000-15 Pritzker prize laureates in a comparative manner.