Mexico City – Residents should restore Mexico City's "splendor" and help make the capital one of the "most livable" cities in the world, Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta said.
Legorreta, the first Mexican to win the Japan Art Association's Praemium Imperiale, invited Mexico City's residents to stop criticizing their home and make an effort to fix the capital's problems.
The 80-year-old architect was given Mexico City's Medal and Diploma by Mayor Marcelo Ebrard on Monday for his contributions to improving public spaces in the capital, one of the world's most populous cities.
Legorreta has long been concerned about creating "public spaces for the people" and "making a community in the city," Ebrard said during the awards ceremony.
The mayor also congratulated Legorreta on being awarded the 2011 Praemium Imperiale, which he will receive at a ceremony Oct. 19 presided over by Japan's Prince Hitachi, the younger brother of Emperor Akihito.
The other winners of the 2011 edition of the prestigious Japanese prizes are Bill Viola (painting), Anish Kapoor (sculpture), Seiji Ozawa (music) and Judi Dench (theater/film).
Legorreta, who began his career in 1960 and was one of the pioneers in turning Mexico's historic buildings into cultural and social centers, said he was proud that his work was being recognized both in Mexico and Japan.
The architect's most famous projects are the Children's Museum and the redesign of the Chapultepec Zoo, both in Mexico City, and Monterrey's Museum of Contemporary Art.
Legorreta also designed The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, California, the Solana complex in Dallas, Texas, Spain's Sheraton Bilbao Hotel and the Metropolitan Cathedral in Managua, Nicaragua.
The architect has won numerous awards for his work, including Mexico's National Arts Prize, the Gold Medal of the International Union of Architects and Spain's Order of Isabella the Catholic.