The Pritzker Prize for Architecture was recently awarded to Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of the architectural firm SANAA. This international prize, which is awarded annually to a living architect for significant achievement, was established by the Pritzker family of Chicago, and is often referred to as “architecture’s Nobel” and “the profession’s highest honor,”.

At Raptis Rare Books we have a number of signed first editions of previous Pritzker prize winners, such as Philip Johnson, Richard Meier, Frank Gehry, Robert Venturi, and Rem Koolhaas. These architects have significantly affected the culture that we live in and the future of our civilization. Architecture is the highest amalgamation of art, engineering and design. Architects have the practical job of providing places for us to work, live, play, and worship, as well as inspiring awe and in many ways defining the society we live in, translating ideologies into form.

When you think of a particular city, most people automatically think of the architecture that defines the space, whether it be the Empire State Building, London Bridge, the Transamerica Building, or the Eiffel Tower. If you’ve been to Bilbao, Spain the first thing that probably comes to mind is the Guggenheim, designed by Frank Gehry.

The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain

The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain

Of if you think of Sydney, many people think of the Opera House designed by Pritzker Prize-winner Jørn Utzon.

Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House

Modern architecture is very different from so much of the architecture that has been around over the past centuries. Because of this, it can be fairly controversial… you may love it or hate it. But one thing is for sure, you can’t ignore it. Modern architecture has made its stamp on the world, and I believe that this architecture defines the society we live in.

Collecting modern architecture books is a wonderful way to both understand and capture the distilled essence of the 20th and 21st century. Imagine being able to collect the works of Michaelangelo or Monet during the peak of their popularity. These modern architects are not only artists, but they are so much more, and its a thrilling field to collect.