When he won the Pritzker Prize on March 24, the Japanese architect Shigeru Ban had a very busy day. As the 37th winner of architecture’s biggest prize — the profession’s Nobel — Mr. Ban made all the major papers, had appearances on CNN and NPR, and even sat down with Charlie Rose.
The day after Mr. Ban won the Pritzker, the Douglas Elliman broker Holly Parker had a very busy day, too. “The phone started ringing, and it just hasn’t stopped,” said Ms. Parker, who, thanks to Mr. Ban, has won a prize of her own.
Since October 2012, she has been trying to sell a three-bedroom condominium inside the Metal Shutter Houses in West Chelsea, Mr. Ban’s only completed project in New York. The $7 million duplex already had Mr. Ban, one of the world’s best known architects, behind it, even before he won the Pritzker. The honor is not only for his distinctive homes across Japan and a branch of the Pompidou in Metz, France, but also for disaster housing utilizing unusual materials like cardboard tubes and shipping containers.
Just as when an author wins a Pulitzer and suddenly a stack of books appears at the front of Barnes & Noble, bearing golden stickers, Ms. Parker’s listing was now on many buyers’ minds.
“It’s like winning the Oscar,” said Michael Sorkin, the designer, critic and director of the Spitzer School of Architecture at City College. “You get showered with work and your fees go up.”
“At least for once the Pritzker folks have honored someone who has a socially based practice,” he added, “even if it appears it’s the luxury side of his work that’s benefiting more.”
In this second age of high-flying real estate, brand-name architecture and globe-trotting wealth, the identity of a designer has taken on ever-increasing value to ensure that a project’s multimillion-dollar homes stand out. Anyone can install waterfall showers and Wolf ranges. A Pritzker is harder to come by.
Even for an architect who is as modest as he is inventive, it will be almost impossible for Mr. Ban to avoid the glare from the medal soon to hang around his neck.
“Shigeru has been very clear that we should remain humble in this moment,” said Dean Maltz, the partner in Mr. Ban’s New York office. “I actually think it’s quite inappropriate to speculate about what could happen with our work.”
But at his two projects in Manhattan — where Mr. Ban once studied architecture at Cooper Union under Mr. Sorkin and alongside Mr. Maltz — the sudden clamor for a piece of the prize is palpable.