Kiesler-Prize 2024

Junya Ishigami, photograph © Chikashi Suzuki


is winner of the 13th Austrian Frederick Kiesler-Prize of Architecture and the Arts 2024

The Austrian Frederick and Lillian Kiesler Private Foundation is delighted to announce that Japanese architect Junya Ishigami has been awarded the Frederick Kiesler Prize for Architecture and Art, one of the most highly endowed international prizes in this field.


Award Ceremony
Monday, June 17, 2024, 6 p.m.
Otto Wagner Postsparkasse
Georg-Koch-Platz 2, 1010 Vienna

Exhibition Opening
with Junya Ishigami
Tuesday, June 18, 2024, 5 p.m.
Frederick Kiesler Foundation

by Junya Ishigami
Tuesday, June 18, 2024, 7 p.m.
Architekturzentrum Wien

Decision of the Jury
The high-profile jury of the Frederick Kiesler Prize – consisting of Leonor Antunes (artist, Berlin), Céline Condorelli (artist, London/Mailand), Harald Gründl (designer, Vienna), Anupama Kundoo (architect, Berlin) as well as jury chairman Kjetil Thorsen (architect, Oslo) – explains its decision as follows:

“The jury is pleased to award this year’s Kiesler Prize to Junya Ishigami, who stands out in today’s architecture practice for his inspirational and unique approach to building design. His extraordinary projects are pushing the boundaries of the building industry and thus show strong parallels to Frederick Kiesler’s experimental and innovative attitude by transcending the borders of the traditional disciplines. Ishigami adds a fascinating new facet to the many outstanding artists and architects who have previously received the award.

Kiesler Prize Jury 2024. Photo: Michael Nagl

Kiesler Prize Jury 2024
(from left to right):

Leonor Antunes, Kjetil Thorsen, (Elke Delugan-Meissl, president), Anupama Kundoo, Celine Condorelli, Harald Gründl, (Gerd Zillner, director)

Photo: Michael Nagl

Ishigami’s “free space” philosophy, seeking harmony between man-made structures and those that already exist in nature, correlates with Kiesler’s thinking that “[t]he new designer will learn to understand the methods by which nature builds … but he will not imitate her methods” (On Correalism and Biotechnique, 1939). Known for his designs with dreamlike qualities that frequently incorporate elements from the natural world, such as forests or caves, Ishigami focusses on the human being as part of nature and thereby stands in line with Kiesler’s holistic theory of “Correalism” reflecting “the dynamics of continual interaction between man and his natural and technological environments”.

Ishigami’s work is highly diverse, acknowledging the fact that the demands of today are multi-dimensional. Rather than finding the one solution, he sees it as the core task of the contemporary architect to find a variety of different solutions in relation to a specific location and a specific task. Ishigami is thereby producing a wide range of outstanding and very idiosyncratic projects, such as the KAIT Workshop at Kanagawa Institute of Technology (Atsugi/Japan, 2008), the Museum Park of the Polytechnic Museum in Moscow (Russia, 2019) or the House & Restaurant (Ube/Japan, 2022). His highly-recognized Serpentine Pavilion (London/England, 2029), a cave-like space realized as temporary installation in London’s Kensington Gardens, constitutes a refuge for contemplation. The jury was especially impressed by the Art Biotop Water Garden (Tochigi/Japan, 2018), seeing a whole forest moved and saved from destruction, resulting in a place of surreal beauty where people can relax and get lost.

The jury acknowledges Ishigami’s uncompromising and exceptional body of work and his capacity to inspire, presenting a visionary and poetic alternative to the economically driven pragmatism of today’s mainstream architecture. Transcending and expanding traditional genres, he is adding a radical new perspective to the discipline of architecture.”

Junya Ishigami
Born in Kanagawa Prefecture in 1974, Junya Ishigami is one of the most exceptional talents on the international architecture scene. After spending many years in the office of the Pritzker Prize laureate Kazuyo Sejima, SANAA, he established his own firm, junya.ishigami+associates, in 2004. The uniqueness of his work and the unconventional way in which he approaches his projects led to swift recognition and the award of many prizes. In 2009, he became the youngest ever recipient of the Architectural Institute of Japan Prize; in 2010, he received the Golden Lion of the Architecture Biennale in Venice; and in 2019 he was the first winner of the newly created Obel Award. He has taught at Tohoku University in Japan since 2010 and was appointed Kenzo Tange Design Critic at Harvard Graduate School of Design (USA) in 2014.

For Ishigami, architecture is an open field of infinite possibilities that extends into every area of life, raises all the essential questions, and should be considered from a perspective that is as scientific as it is artistic. Apparently liberated from the rules and constraints of architecture, Ishigami predominantly finds the context for his projects in nature. And he has a continuing focus on the reinterpretation of the boundary between landscape and architecture. His conceptual thinking is shaped by an urge to interweave architecture with the “natural” and to stretch the existing frontiers between design, architecture, and the environment. With his visionary designs, whose aesthetic is characterized by their concentration, transparency, and simplicity, Ishigami is embarking upon a holistic search for an architecture for the future, in which the life of society is structured according to organic principles.

Ishigami’s major projects include KAIT Workshop for the Kanagawa Institute of Technology (Atsugi/Japan, 2008); the House of Peace in Copenhagen (Denmark, 2014); the Chapel of the Valley in Shandong (China, 2016); the Art Biotop Water Garden (Tochigi/Japan, 2018); and his pavilion for the Serpentine Gallery (London/England, 2019).

With kind support of Dorotheum and Hotel Steigenberger Herrenhof.