Edited by: Eugenia Gotti – Architecture Department Editor – firstname.lastname@example.org
Who: Toyo Ito
Proofreading: Bianca Baroni
They call him “creator of timeless buildings”, Toyo Ito has been announced as the Pritzker laureate for 2013.
Compared to the Nobel prize, the purpose of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, founded in 1979, is to honor every year a living architect whose built work demonstrates a combination of talent, vision and commitment, someone who has given consistent and significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture. The laureates receive a $100,000 grant and a bronze medallion.
Ito is the sixth Japanese architect to become a Pritzker Laureate – the first five have been 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.
One of his first projects in 1971 was a home in a suburb of Tokyo. Called “Aluminum House,” the structure was made of wooden frame completely covered in aluminum.
The Pritzker Jury further praised Ito for “infusing his designs with a spiritual dimension and for the poetics that transcend all his works.” Among those works, the Jury singled out his Sendai Mediatheque, TOD’S Omotesando building in Tokyo and Tama Art University Library.
He considers the Sendai Mediatheque completed in 2001 in Sendai City as one of the high points of his career. Ito approaches the interior space thinking about an innovative use of structural tubes allowed by new spatial qualities.
In the fashionable Omotesando area of Tokyo, in 2004, Ito designed a building for TOD’S, an Italian shoes and handbag company, in which trees become a source of inspiration and the building skin serves as structure too.
The continue research studies of lightness, of the equilibrium between structure, skin and decoration pushes him in peculiars solutions in every case. This makes his style change every time.
In response to the accolade, the highest award in the profession of architecture, Ito humbly expressed that, with each project, he only becomes more “painfully aware of [his] inadequacy, and it turns into energy to challenge the next project.” For that reason, Ito said, “I will never fix my architectural style and never be satisfied with my works.”