Praised by the jury for his unconventional works, the Japanese architect Arata Isozaki has been awarded the 2019 Pritzker Prize. Announced Tuesday morning, the 87-year-old has been recognized for his forward-thinking approach and transnational methodology that fused global and local influences and facilitated dialogues between East and West.
In their citation, the 2019 jury noted that "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.”
Born in Ōita, his early works such as the 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), focused on efforts to reconstruct his native hometown. According to Reyner Banham, these projects showed Isozaki's international influences with a style mixing 'New Brutalism' and 'Metabolist Architecture,' the latter, a movement Isozaki sought to distance himself from towards the end of the 1960s.
Isozaki's avant-garde style and rebellious nature soon brought international commissions and his large portfolio of works spans the globe. Some of his best-known projects include the Museum of Contemporary Art in downtown Los Angeles (his first overseas commission), Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona, the Allianz Tower in Milan, and the Qatar National Convention Center.
“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,” said Tom Pritzker, Chairman of Hyatt Foundation. “In a global world, architecture needs that communication," he added.
Mr. Isozaki is the 46th Pritzker Prize laureate and the eighth Japanese architect to receive the industry's top honor, which will be awarded at a ceremony taking place in France this May. He follows Balkrishna Doshi, whose 2018 Pritzker award made him the first Indian-born architect to receive the award.
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