Toyo Ito awarded 2013 Pritzker Prize

Thomas J. Pritzker, chairman of The Hyatt Foundation which sponsors the prize, announced last week that the 2013 Pritzker Architecture Prize has been awarded to Japanese architect, Toyo Ito.

Toyo Ito and the TOD’s Omotesando Building, Tokyo – 2002-2004

The 71 year old architect is actually the sixth Japanese Laureate of the prestigious award, following into the steps of  the late Kenzo Tange in 1987, Fumihiko Maki in 1993, Tadao Ando in 1995, and the team of Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa in 2010.

Among the projects the jury praised Ito for was the TOD’s Omotesando building in Tokyo, “where the building skin also serves as structure” as the jury said, and in relation to the Sendai Mediathque project, “Ito has said that he strives for architecture that is fluid and not confined by what he considers to be the limitations of modern architecture. In the Sendai Mediatheque he achieved this by structural tubes, which permitted new interior spatial qualities.

The Jury citation continues stating that “Innovative is a word often used to describe Toyo Ito’s works. […] Toyo Ito is a creator of timeless buildings, who at the same time boldly charts new paths. His architecture projects an air of optimism, lightness and joy, and is infused with both a sense of uniqueness and universality. For these reasons and for his synthesis of structure, space and form that creates inviting places, for his sensitivity to landscape, for infusing his designs with a spiritual dimension and for the poetics that transcend all his works, Toyo Ito is awarded the 2013 Pritzker Architecture Prize.”

The year is starting brilliantly for Japanese architecture and design protagonists: we recently highlighted Sou Fujimoto who is undertaking the design of the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion for 2013; we mentioned Nendo’s beautiful installation as this year’s Stockholm Furniture and Light Fair, as well as his delicate Colored-Pencil Tables presented at Saint-Étienne Design Biennale.

The prize-giving ceremony will take place on May 29 at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston – a building actually erected by a fellow Pritzker Award Ieoh Ming Pei, who received the award in 1983. – Gemma Riberti

Tama Art University Library, Tokyo – 2004—2007

Main Stadium for The World Games, Taiwan – 2009

Sendai Mediatheque, Miyagi – 1995—2000

Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, London – 2002

Toyo Ito Museum of Architecture, Ehime – 2006—2011

Meiso no Mori Municipal Funeral Hall, Gifu – 2004—2006

Dome in Odate (multipurpose dome), Akita – 1993—1997

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