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Toyo Ito Wins this Year’s Pritzker Architecture Prize

The Japanese architect is praised for creating timeless buildings while boldly charting new paths.

Toyo Ito Wins this Year’s Pritzker Architecture Prize

The Japanese architect is praised for creating timeless buildings while boldly charting new paths.



BY

18 March, 2013


Toyo Ito has been announced as the Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate for 2013.

Toyo Ito

Sendai Mediatheque, Miyagi, Japan (2000). Photo by Tomio Ohashi

“Toyo Ito is a creator of timeless buildings, who at the same time boldly charts new paths,” the Pritzker Prize jury said in its citation. “His architecture projects an air of optimism, lightness and joy, and is infused with both a sense of uniqueness and universality.”

Toyo Ito

Toyo Ito

TOD’s Omotesando Building, Tokyo, Japan (2004). Photos by Nacasa & Partners Inc.

In his 40-year career, Ito has successfully undertaken libraries, houses, parks, theatres, shops, office buildings and pavilions, each time seeking to extend the possibilities of architecture. His works include the Sendai Mediatheque (2000), the TOD’s Building in Tokyo (2004), and the Main Stadium for the World Games 2009 in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

Toyo Ito

Toyo Ito

Main Stadium for The World Games 2009, Kaohsiung, Taiwan R.O.C. Photos by Fu Tsu Construction Co., Ltd

Ito is the sixth Japanese architect to win the Pritzker – the first five being the late Kenzo Tange (1987), Fumihiko Maki (1993), Tadao Ando (1995), and the team of Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa (2010).

Toyo Ito

Za-Koenji Public Theatre, Tokyo, Japan (2008)

Based in Tokyo, the Japanese architect has previously been awarded the RIBA Gold Medal (2006) and the Praemium Imperiale by the Japan Art Association (2010). At last year’s Venice Architecture Biennale, his Japanese Pavilion was named ’Best Pavilion’.

Toyo Ito

Dome in Odate, Akita, Japan (2009). Photo by Mikio Kamaya

“Architecture is bound by various social constraints,” says Ito, “I have been designing architecture bearing in mind that it would be possible to realise more comfortable spaces if we are freed from all the restrictions even for a little bit. However, when one building is completed, I become painfully aware of my own inadequacy, and it turns into energy to challenge the next project. Probably this process must keep repeating itself in the future. Therefore, I will never fix my architectural style and will never be satisfied with my works.”

Toyo Ito

Tama Art University Library, Tokyo, Japan (2007). Photo by Tomio Ohashi

Perhaps signaling design’s growing shift to Asia, recent Pritzker Prize wins have been from this region – Japan’s Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa were named the 2010 laureates, while China’s Wang Shu received last year’s prize.

Toyo Ito

Toyo Ito

Matsumoto Peforming Arts Centre, Nagano, Japan (2004). Photos by Hiroshi Ueda

The prize giving ceremony will be held on 29 May in Boston at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum designed by Ieoh Ming Pei, winner of the 1983 Pritzker Architecture Prize.

Toyo Ito

Toyo Ito

Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, London, UK (2002)

The Pritzker Architecture Prize is conferred annually to a living architect who has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through architecture. The laureates receive a $100,000 grant and a bronze medallion.

The Pritzker Architecture Prize
pritzkerprize.com


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