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Foster completes full set with 'Nobel for the arts' prize win

Lord Foster (left) has scooped the last major honour left for him to collect - the Praemium Imperiale.

Foster will collect the prize, billed as the 'Nobel for the arts', at an awards ceremony in Tokyo next month along with a cheque for £90,000 (15 million Yen).

He joins a list of laureates that includes fellow Brits James Stirling and Lord Rogers, as well as Frank Gehry, Renzo Piano and Alvaro Siza.

Foster's curriculum vitae now includes the RIBA's Royal Gold Medal (1983), the American Institute of Architects' Gold Medal (1994), the Pritzker Prize (1999) and the UIA's Auguste Perret Award, which he picked up in Berlin this year. And in 1998 he collected the Stirling Prize for the American Air Museum in Duxford, Cambridgeshire.

Foster described the philosophy behind his work as 'to explore, to challenge, to seek excellence in design. To believe that the quality ofdesign affects all our lives.' He said: 'It is a great honour to receive this award and to join such august and illustrious company, which includes so many esteemed colleagues and friends. I am particularly delighted to receive this honour because I feel such a great affinity with Japanese art and architecture. The time I have spent working in Japan has provided some of the richest experiences of my life. I accept this award with tremendous pride.'

And he pledged to share the prize with his senior colleagues, some of whom have worked with him for 30 years. 'Together, we have built up the practice and they, with other younger colleagues, will eventually lead it into the future.'

This year's other Praemium Imperiale laureates are Jean-Luc Godard for film, Dietrich FischerDieskau for music, Giuliano Vangi for sculpture and Sigmar Polke for painting. The Japan Art Association awards the prize to artists chosen for their achievements, for their international impact and for their role in enriching the global community.

The announcement was made at a celebration in London on Tuesday, hosted by Sir Edward Heath.

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