The 71-year-old Japanese architect Toyo Ito, has won the 2013 Pritzker Architecture Prize, the prize’s jury announced Sunday. Ito, the sixth Japanese architect to receive the prize, joins a long list of masters such as Frank Gehry, I.M. Pei, Tadao Ando, Renzo Piano and Wang Su in receiving the honor that’s been called architecture’s Nobel Prize.
Ito, who was recognized for the libraries, houses, theaters, offices and other buildings he has designed in Japan and other countries. He 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, and named it Urban Robot (Urbot). In 1979, he changed the name to Toyo Ito & Associates, Architects.
Ito has received numerous international awards, including in 2010, the 22nd Praemium Imperiale in Honor of Prince Takamatsu; and in 2006, The Royal Institute of British Architects’ Royal Gold Medal; and in 2002, the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement for 8th Venice Biennale International Exhibition. Calling him a “creator of timeless buildings,” the Pritzker Jury cites Ito for “infusing his designs with a spiritual dimension and for the poetics that transcend all his works.”
“Therefore, I will never fix my architectural style and never be satisfied with my works,” Ito said
“Toyo Ito’s architecture has improved the quality of both public and private spaces,” said U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, who served on the Pritzker Prize jury.
The formal ceremony for what has come to be known throughout the world as architecture’s highest honor will be at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, Massachusetts on Wednesday, May 29. This marks the first time the ceremony has been held in Boston, and the location has particular significance because it was designed by another Pritzker Laureate, Ieoh Ming Pei who received the prize in 1983.
Toyo Ito Museum of Architecture © Iwan Baan
In making the announcement, Pritzker elaborated, “We are particularly pleased to be holding our ceremony at the Kennedy Library, and it is even more significant because the date is John F. Kennedy’s birthday.”
The purpose of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, which was founded in 1979 by the late Jay A. Pritzker and his wife, Cindy, is to honor annually a living architect whose built work demonstrates a combination of those qualities of talent, vision and commitment, which has produced 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.