The 56-year-old senior partner of the Office for Metropolitan Architecture in Rotterdam is famous for turning conventions of modern architecture and urban design on their head. His 1994 exhibition hall in Lille, northern France (right) uses industrial materials such as galvanised steel and low-grade translucent glass to create wonderfully luminous internal spaces.
He has also created a multifunctional university building in Utrecht; housing with a wavy roofline in Fukuoka, Japan; a group of disjointed office towers in Rotterdam; and an egg-shaped ferry terminal in Zeebrugge.
Koolhaas is the 23rd winner of the international architectural award bestowed by the American Pritzker family, founder of the Hyatt hotel chain. Last year, the prize was won by Lord Foster and the previous year by Italian architect Renzo Piano.
The jury chairman, J Carter Brown, said: “The leader of a spectacularly irreverent generation of Dutch architects, his restless mind, conceptual brilliance and ability to make a building sing have earned him a stellar place in the firmament of contemporary design.”