The first of the annual Prince of Asturias Awards has been won by the Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry.
He topped the 36 nominations from 19 different countries for the award for the arts deliberated on by a jury of 15 with the winner announced by jury president Jose Llado.
The citation said he was awarded the prize for the relevance and impact of his creations in numerous countries, and the way in which he has defined and furthered architecture in the past half century.
His buildings are characterised by a virtuoso play of complex shapes, the use of unusual materials like titanium, it said.
Frank Gehry’s most famous designs include the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and the titanium covered Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao in Spain.
The 85-year-old was born in Toronto and studied at the University of Southern California and Harvard University.
He is known for his use of bold, post modern shapes and unusual fabrications. His career was launched after he remodeled his own home in Santa Monica with corrugated steel and chain-linked fence. It caught the imagination of the architectural world.
His early furniture range called ‘Easy Edges’ which was made out of cardboard also received plaudits.
He is known for his ability to deliver projects within budget, with the exception of the Walt Disney Concert Hall project – it exceeded the budget by over $170 million.