Michael Moran The Asia Society Hong Kong Center Admiralty, Hong Kong (2013)

Today, the Japan Art Association announced the winners of the 2019 Praemium Imperiale International Arts Award. Now in its 31st year, the annual prize recognizes artists in five disciplines—painting, sculpture, architecture, music, and theater/film—with the winner from each discipline receiving 15 million yen (approximately $140,000). This year, the artists honored with the prize were selected for "the outstanding international impact they had on their field, and for their role in enriching the global community and in contributing to the peace and prosperity of mankind," according to a press release from the Japan Art Association.

Tod Williams and Billie Tsien
Taylor Jewell Tod Williams and Billie Tsien

Tod Williams, FAIA, and Billie Tsien, AIA, founders of their eponymous New York–based firm, Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners, were the 2019 Praemium Imperial laureates for architecture. Collaborating since 1977, Williams and Tsien founded their firm in 1986. In the three decades since, they have received numerous awards, including AIA's 2013 Architecture Firm Award, and designed renowned projects worldwide, such as the Asia Society Hong Kong Center, in Hong Kong; the Lefrak Center at Lakeside Prospect Park, in New York; and the Barnes Foundation, in Philadelphia.

Their fellow 2019 laureates are William Kentridge, a painter from South Africa; Mona Hatoum, a sculptor based in London; Anne-Sophie Mutter, a violinist from Germany; and Bando Tamasaburo, an actor from Japan.

Michael Moran Lefrak Center at Lakeside Prospect Park, New York (2013)

Caroline Kennedy, the former U.S. ambassador to Japan, led the American nominating committee as an international adviser to the Praemium Imperiale. “I am proud to be the first woman to serve as an international adviser to the Praemium Imperiale," Kennedy said in the same release. "This year’s Laureates have created an illustrious body of work, and we are delighted to celebrate their significant contributions to their fields.”

Williams, Tsien, and their fellow laureates join a community of 154 past winners, which includes Norman Foster, Hon. FAIA, Frank Gehry, FAIA, and the late Zaha Hadid.