Arata Isozaki, distinguished Japanese architect, city planner and theorist, has been selected as the 2019 Laureate of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, the award that is known internationally as architecture’s highest honour. Lauded as a visionary amongst his international contemporaries, Isozaki’s forward-thinking approach, a deep commitment to the “art of space,” and transnational methodology have been evidenced since the 1960s. Isozaki is the 46th Laureate of the Pritzker Prize, and the eighth to hail from Japan. The 2019 Pritzker Prize ceremony will take place in France this May, accompanied by a public lecture in Paris. CovetED is pleased to present you the amazing work of Isozaki, keep reading down below.
2019 Laureate Arata Isozaki was born in Ōita, Island of Kyushu, Japan in 1931 prior to the onset of World War II. He was 14 years old when Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed, and builds with the theory that while buildings are transitory, they should please the senses of the users presently passing through and around them. “When I was old enough to begin an understanding of the world, my hometown was burned down. Across the shore, the Atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, so I grew up near ground zero. It was in complete ruins, and there was no architecture, no buildings and not even a city. Only barracks and shelters surrounded me. So, my first experience of architecture was the void of architecture, and I began to consider how people might rebuild their homes and cities.”
Isozaki demonstrated a worldwide vision that was ahead of his time and facilitated a dialogue between East and West. He emerged as an international leader in architecture in the 1980s, with his first overseas commission, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (1981-1986 California, USA). He is the recipient of the Annual Prize, Architectural Institute of Japan, for the Ōita Prefectural Library and The Museum of Modern Art, Gunma (1967 and 1975 respectively, Japan), L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (1997 Officier, France), RIBA Gold Medal for architecture (1986 United Kingdom), Leone d’Oro, Venice Architectural Biennale, as commissioner of Japanese Pavilion (1996 Italy), Gran Cruz de la Orden del Mérito Civil (1997 Spain), Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana (2007 Italy), and The Lorenzo il Magnifico Lifetime Achievement Award, Florence Biennale (2017). He was an honorary member of the Royal Academy of Arts (1994) and the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1998), and a member of the Japan Arts Academy (2017). He was appointed to the first Pritzker Prize Jury in 1979 and continued on as a member for five additional years.
Ōita Prefectural Library 1962-66
Solo exhibitions featuring the work of Isozaki have included Arata Isozaki: Architecture 1960-1990 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (California, USA) and Tokyo Station Gallery (Tokyo, Japan); Arata Isozaki: Works in Architecture at the Brooklyn Museum (New York, USA), Galleria D’ Arte Moderna, Comune di Bologna (Bologna, Italy), The Netherlands Architecture Institute (Rotterdam, The Netherlands), The National British Architecture Institute (London, United Kingdom), Miro Museum (Barcelona, Spain) and Moni Lazariston (Thessaloniki, Greece); Arata Isozaki – Electric Labyrinth at Castello di Rivoli, Museo d’Arte Contemporanea (Torino, Italy) and Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art (Porto, Portugal); and Arata Isozaki UNBUILT at the Central Academy of Fine Arts (Beijing, China), Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Centre (Shanghai, China) and Guangdong Museum of Art (Guangzhou, China).
Qatar National Convention Center by Isozaki
Isozaki has served as a visiting professor at several U.S. universities including Columbia University, New York (New York, USA); Harvard University (Cambridge, MA, USA) and Yale University (New Haven, Connecticut, USA). He is based in Okinawa with offices operating in Japan, China, Italy and Spain.
Team Disney Orlando By Isozaki
“Isozaki is a pioneer in understanding that the need for architecture is both global and local—that those two forces are part of a single challenge,” says Justice Stephen Breyer, Jury Chair. “For many years, he has been trying to make certain that areas of the world that have long traditions in architecture are not limited to that tradition, but help spread those traditions while simultaneously learning from the rest of the world.”
Arata Isozaki And Jasper Johns
Isozaki’s work has thus far surpassed six decades and over one hundred built works throughout Asia, Europe, North America, the Middle East and Australia. Other prominent works include the Kitakyushu City Museum of Art (1972-1974 Fukuoka, Japan), Tsukuba Center Building, (1979-1983 Ibaraki, Japan), Art Tower Mito (1986-1990 Ibaraki, Japan), Nara Centennial Hall (1992-1998 Nara, Japan), Pala Alpitour (2002-2006 Torino, Italy), Himalayas Center (2003-2013 Shanghai, China), Allianz Tower (2003-2014 Milan, Italy), Qatar National Convention Center (2004-2011 Doha, Qatar), and Shanghai Symphony Hall (2008-2014 Shanghai, China).
The Kitakyushu Central Library was designed and constructed from 1973-1975. Photo courtesy of Yasuhiro Ishimoto and the Pritzker Architecture Prize
Arata Isozaki designed the Museum of Modern Art, Gunma, in 1974 with giant prism-shaped galleries perched on stilts. Photo courtesy of Yasuhiro Ishimoto and Pritzker Architecture Prize
The Art Tower Mito. Photo courtesy of Yasuhiro Ishimoto and the Pritzker Architecture Prize
About The Prize
Pritzker Prize Front And Back
To honour a living architect or architects whose built work demonstrates a combination of those qualities of talent, vision, and commitment, which has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture. The international prize, which is awarded each year to a living architect/s for significant achievement, was established by the Pritzker family of Chicago through their Hyatt Foundation in 1979. It is granted annually and is often referred to as “architecture’s Nobel” and “the profession’s highest honour.” The award consists of $100,000 (US) and a bronze medallion. The award is conferred on the laureate/s at a ceremony held at an architecturally significant site throughout the world.
The official ceremony granting the award takes place every year, usually in May, at an architecturally significant site throughout the world. The laureate receives $100,000 and also a bronze medallion. The bronze medallion awarded to each Laureate of the Pritzker Architecture Prize is based on designs of Louis Sullivan, famed Chicago architect generally acknowledged as the father of the skyscraper. On one side is the name of the prize. On the reverse, three words are inscribed, “firmness, commodity and delight,” recalling Roman architect Vitruvius’ fundamental principles of architecture of firmitas, utilitas, venustas.
Shopping District In Milan Design By Isozaki
The jury also highlights Isozaki’s dedication to supporting young architects, citing initiatives like the Fukuoka Nexus World Housing project (1988-1991) and the Toyama Prefecture’s Machi-no-Kao (“face of the city”) program (1991-1999), in which Isozaki invited young architects worldwide to develop “catalytic projects” in Japan. The Pritzker citation underlines Isozaki’s movement between East and West, both in terms of inspiration and clientele, as well as his support for younger Japanese architects—some of them now better known—who have come since.
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