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Architecture: President Obama to speak at tonight's Pritzker Prize ceremony in Washington

June 2, 2011 |  2:20 pm


The winner of this year's Pritzker Prize, Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura, is not especially well known, even in design circles. But one guest at Thursday night's Pritzker ceremony in Washington qualifies as a bold-faced name in any context: Barack Obama.

The president will appear -- and speak -- at the event at the neoclassical Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium. First Lady Michelle Obama will also attend.

The reason for the president's attendance? Primarily his friendship with Penny Pritzker, a member of the Chicago family that funds the prize and who was also finance chairwoman of Obama's 2008 campaign.

Read my Critic's Notebook entry on Souto de Moura's Pritzker win and what it says about the shifting priorities of the Pritzker jury, and visit the official (and extensive) Pritzker site.

-- Christopher Hawthorne

Photo: Paula Rego Museum in Cascais, Portugal, by Eduardo Souto de Moura. Credit: Luis Ferreira Alves