Japan-based Toyo Ito will be the recipient of the 2013 Pritzker Architecture Prize, the highest accolade for an architect.
Calling him a “creator of timeless buildings,” the Pritzker jury cited Ito for “infusing his designs with a spiritual dimension and for the poetics that transcend all his works.”
Ito began working in the firm of Kiyonori Kikutake & Associates after he graduated from Tokyo University’s Department of Architecture in 1965.
In 1971, he founded his own studio in Tokyo called Urban Robot (Urbot), later changing the name to Toyo Ito & Associates, Architects.
Regarding the accolade, Ito commented: “Architecture is bound by various social constraints. I have been designing architecture bearing in mind that it would be possible to realise more comfortable spaces if we are freed from all the restrictions even for a little bit.
“However, when one building is completed, I become painfully aware of my own inadequacy, and it turns into energy to challenge the next project. Probably this process must keep repeating itself in the future. Therefore, I will never fix my architectural style and never be satisfied with my works.”
Ito cited the library Sendai Mediatheque, completed in 2001 in Sendai City, Miyagi, Japan, as one of the high points of his career.
The jury also applauded the TOD’S Omotesando building in Tokyo, “where the building skin also serves as structure” as well as Municipal Funeral Hall in Gifu Prefecture, Tokyo’s Tama Art University Library, and London’s 2002 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion.
“Innovative is a word often used to describe Toyo Ito’s works,” the jury added.