Design: Basso Profundo and a Bit Wild !

A little-known German pioneer wins architecture's top prize

When the first annual $100,000 Pritzker Architecture Prize was awarded seven years ago to Philip Johnson, cynics and grumps concluded that the field's new quasi-Nobel would go only to superstars, and American superstars at that. But the Pritzker juries have shrewdly avoided pop provincialism in their selections, including among their subsequent laureates Luis Barragan, the reticent Mexican minimalist, and Austria's Hans Hollein.

The winner of the 1986 prize, announced last week, is even more interestingly arcane. West German Gottfried Bohm, 66, has had only three projects built outside his own country, received no formal international honorific until 1983, and goes unmentioned...

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