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Arata Isozaki wins 2019 Pritzker Architecture Prize

Japan Architecture News - Mar 5, 2019 - 08:14   5513 views

Arata Isozaki wins 2019 Pritzker Architecture Prize

Distinguished Japanese architect, city planner and theorist Arata Isozaki has been named as the 2019 Laureate of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, the award that is known internationally as architecture’s highest honor. 

Isozaki has been described as "he surpasses the framework of architecture to raise questions that transcend eras and borders." Arata Isozaki is also a Honorary Member of World Architecture Community and he is one of World Architecture Community's first Members (since 2007). 

Lauded as a visionary amongst his international contemporaries, Isozaki’s forward-thinking approach, deep commitment to the “art of space,” and transnational methodology have been evidenced since the 1960s. The prolific architect has been credited with facilitating dialogue between East and West, reinterpreting global influences within architecture, and supporting the development of younger generations in the field. His precision and dexterity are demonstrated through his mastery of an intercontinental range of building techniques, interpretation of site and context, and intentionality of details.

The 2019 Jury Citation states, in part, "possessing a profound knowledge of architectural history and theory, and embracing the avant-garde, he never merely replicated the status quo, but his search for meaningful architecture was reflected in his buildings that to this day, defy stylistic categorizations, are constantly evolving, and always fresh in their approach."

Isozaki’s early successes in architecture transpired during the era following the Allied occupation of Japan, when the country sought to rebuild itself after the ruins of the Second World War. 

"I wanted to see the world through my own eyes, so I traveled around the globe at least ten times before I turned thirty. I wanted to feel the life of people in different places and visited extensively inside Japan, but also to the Islamic world, villages in the deep mountains of China, South East Asia, and metropolitan cities in the U.S. I was trying to find any opportunities to do so, and through this, I kept questioning, ‘what is architecture?’,” recalled the Laureate.

Not only did he extend efforts to physically reconstruct his native hometown with buildings including Ōita Medical Hall (1959-60) and Annex (1970-1972 Ōita, Japan), and the Ōita Prefectural Library (1962-1966 Ōita, Japan, renamed Ōita Art Plaza in 1996), but also redefined mutual exchange between eastern and western societies, allowing Japanese vision to inform European and American design, particularly in the 1980s. 

"Isozaki was one of the first Japanese architects to build outside of Japan during a time when western civilizations traditionally influenced the East, making his architecture—which was distinctively influenced by his global citizenry—truly international," commented Tom Pritzker, Chairman of Hyatt Foundation. 

"In a global world, architecture needs that communication."

Isozaki is the 46th Laureate of the Pritzker Prize, and the ninth to hail from Japan. The 2019 Pritzker Prize ceremony will take place in France this May, accompanied by a public lecture in Paris.

The Priztker Prize jury is composed of Stephen Breyer (Chair) U.S. Supreme Court Justice Washington, DC, André Aranha Corrêa do Lago - Architectural critic, Curator, and Brazilian Ambassador to India Tokyo, Japan, Richard Rogers - Architect and 2007 Pritzker Laureate London, England, Sejima Kazuyo - Architect and 2010 Pritzker Laureate Tokyo, Japan, Benedetta Tagliabue - Architect and Educator Barcelona, Spain, Ratan N. Tata - Chairman of Tata Trusts Mumbai, India, Wang Shu - Architect, Educator and 2012 Pritzker Laureate Hangzhou, China, Martha Thorne (Executive Director) Dean, IE School of Architecture & Design Madrid, Spain.

Details coming soon....

Top image courtesy of Pritzker Architecture Prize

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