Pritzker Prize 2021 awarded to Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal

French architecture duo Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal have been awarded the prestigious 2021 Pritzker Architecture Prize for their considerate, innovative and sustainable approach

129 Units, Ourcq-Juarès Student and Social Housing
129 Units, Ourcq-Juarès Student and Social Housing.
(Image credit: Philippe Ruault)

Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal have been announced as the winners of the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize for 2021. The French architecture duo have championed considerate, sustainable architecture since they set up their practice in Paris in 1987. It followed joint work in Niamey, Niger, where Vassal relocated for a period of time to practise urban planning.  

It was in Niger that they created their first built project together – a straw hut, constructed with locally sourced bush branches. Returning to Paris, they have since completed a slew of critically acclaimed work, such as Latapie House in Floirac (1993) and House in Cap Ferret (1998), both in France; and a wealth of multi-family housing schemes, in their home country and abroad, including two apartment buildings in Mulhouse (2005 and 2015). 

Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal winners of the Pritzker Price for Architecture 2021

Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal. 

(Image credit: Laurent Chalet)

‘Good architecture is open – open to life, open to enhance the freedom of anyone, where anyone can do what they need to do,' says Lacaton. ‘It should not be demonstrative or imposing, but it must be something familiar, useful and beautiful, with the ability to quietly support the life that will take place within it.'

The pair have taught and exhibited work internationally. They have also been presented with a number of awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award, Trienal de Lisboa (2016); and the Fundació Mies van der Rohe, European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture (2019) along with Frédéric Druot Architecture and Christophe Hutin Architecture for the transformation of 530 dwellings at the Cité du Grand Parc, Bordeaux. 

‘Not only have they defined an architectural approach that renews the legacy of modernism, but they have also proposed an adjusted definition of the very profession of architecture. The modernist hopes and dreams to improve the lives of many are reinvigorated through their work that responds to the climatic and ecological emergencies of our time, as well as social urgencies, particularly in the realm of urban housing. They accomplish this through a powerful sense of space and materials that creates architecture as strong in its forms as in its convictions, as transparent in its aesthetic as in its ethics,' states the 2021 Pritzker jury citation.

53 Units, Low-Rise Apartments, Social Housing

53 Units, Low-Rise Apartments, Social Housing. 

(Image credit: Philippe Ruault)

Cap Ferret House. Photography: Lacaton & Vassal

Cap Ferret House. 

(Image credit: Lacaton & Vassal)

École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Nantes

École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Nantes. 

(Image credit: Philippe Ruault)

House in Bordeaux

(Image credit: Philippe Ruault)

Latapie House

(Image credit: Philippe Ruault)


Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture & Environment Director at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018), Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020) and House London (2022).