Arata Isozaki becomes the Eighth Japanese Winner of the Pritzker Prize 2019

Arata Isozaki, an eminent Japanese architect, has won 2019 Pritzker Prize, the highest honour in the field of architecture, because of his innovative and visionary approach to design.

Arata Isozaki, an eminent Japanese architect, has won Pritzker Prize 2019- the highest honour in the field of architecture- because of his innovative and 'visionary' approach to design. The award, which consists of a bronze medallion and $100,000 will be presented to Isozaki in May at the Palace of Versailles in France.Last year, architect Balkrishna Doshi received the 2018 Pritzker Prize. The architect learned from some of the famous architects of the 20th century, such as Louis Kahn and Le Corbusier.

Isozaki has been presenting remarkably innovative ideas in his works since the ’60s. With this coveted award, the 87-year old Arata Isozaki has become the 8th Japanese architect to win architecture’s highest accolade.  And, this achievement has put his country at par with the US, which has also produced eight Pritzker winners- when counting the Canadian-born American Frank Owen Gehry.

The Nara Centennial Hall

The Nara Centennial Hall, Nara, Japan 

One of the jury members said, "Possessing a profound knowledge of architectural history and theory, and embracing the avant-garde, he never merely replicated the status quo.” 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," he further added.

The Kitakyushu Central Library in Japan

The Kitakyushu Central Library in Japan

The architect shares to have learnt from some of the famous architects of the 20th century, such as Louis Kahn and Le Corbusier. His work boasts of several built projects of different scales all across the world- from Shanghai to Tokyo, to Qatar and Barcelona. Among his most acclaimed works is the Palau Sant Jordi sports facility in Barcelona, Spain that was designed for the 1992 Summer Olympic Games and reflects his work's international influences.

Team Disney Building

Team Disney Building, near Orlando, Florida

While the Pritzker Prize has always been seen as Western-centric, Isozaki has become the 7th Asian architect to claim this award in the last ten years. His other famous works comprise The Nara Centennial Hall that was designed in 1999 as part of the centennial celebrations of the city of Nara, Ceramic Park Mino and Art Tower Mito in Japan, Shanghai Symphony Hall, the Qatar National Convention Center and Allianz Tower in Italy.

Art Tower Mito, located north of Tokyo,

Art Tower Mito, located north of Tokyo

The seven jury members included, British architect (and 2007 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate) Richard Rogers, Ratan Tata former chairman of the Indian conglomerate Tata Group and, US Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, Benedetta Tagliabue- the acclaimed international architecture firm EMBT Miralles Tagliabue, Kazuyo Sejima- 2010 prize laureate, André Corrêa do Lago- A Brazilian diplomat, Wang Shu- co-founder of the Amateur Architecture Studio (and 2012 Pritzker Prize Laureate).

Born in 1931 in Oita, a city on Japan's Kyushu Island, Isozaki finished his graduation from the University of Tokyo in 1954. Isozaki’s interest in architecture was influenced by the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. After completing his graduate studies, he took an apprenticeship under Pritzker Prize laureate Kenzo Tange before setting up his own firm- Arata Isozaki & Associates in 1963. He designed several buildings in his hometown, before reaching to Osaka and the capital, Tokyo.

Photo courtesy: Hisao Suzuki Of The Hyatt Foundation

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