New Mexico-based Antoine Predock has won the 2006 American Institute of Architects Gold Medal.
The 69-year-old architect was announced as the winner of the award, which is considered by many to be on a par with the RIBA's Royal Gold Medal.
The architect, who joins an astonishing roll-call that includes Louis Kahn and Frank Lloyd Wright, has risen to fame in the US for his 'regional philosophy' that attempts to work with 'utmost respect' for the natural landscape that surrounds a new building.
One of his most famous buildings is the 1989 Nelson Fine Art Gallery at Arizona State University ( pictured
Predock said he was astonished when informed of the decision. 'I was thinking, is this happening? Am I dreaming?
'I am deeply honoured. In some ways I feel like my career is just starting, this is the ultimate. Thank you so much. I can really put the pedal to the medal now!'
But jury chairman Thomas S Howorth insisted that he was a worthy winner. 'Arguably, more than any American architect of any time, Antoine Predock has asserted a personal and place-inspired vision of architecture with such passion and conviction that his buildings have been universally embraced,' he said.
The award will be presented at a special event in Washington on 10 February. by Ed Dorrell