A Japanese Architect Has Just Won Architecture's Biggest Prize

Japanese architect toyo ito

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Toyo Ito, the innovative Japanese architect, just won the esteemed 2013 Pritzker Architecture Prize.The 71-year-old architect has designed dozens of structures, from homes to libraries, around the world.

He is known for his fluid, airy style and his ability to bring a natural feel into his structures.

Ito was born in Seoul, South Korea, but spent the majority of his life in Japan. After graduating from Tokyo University in 1965, he worked for six years before starting his own firm. For more than four decades, Ito’s buildings have been popping up around the world.

The sixth Japanese winner of the Pritzker Prize, Ito joins the ranks of world-famous architects like Frank Gehry, I.M. Pei, and Renzo Piano.

Sendai Mediatheque, a library in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan, is widely regarded as one of Ito's best works. The multi-purpose building also houses galleries, studios, and a cafe.

Everything inside the modern glass building is transparent, including the internal tubes and pipes used for ventilation and wiring.

'Silver Hut' is Ito's own home. Built in 1984, it is next to 'U House,' which he designed for his sister.

Ito designed 'Tower of Winds' in 1986. It has a modern feel that complements the fluid interior. It is located in Yokohama, Japan.

Ito designed the Yatsushiro Municipal Museum, in Yatsushiro, Japan, in 1991. It sits on a man-made hill and has plenty of gallery space.

In 1994, Ito designed the Nagaoka Lyric Hall. Its wave-like roof gives it some character.

Each year a different architect is selected to design a temporary pavilion at the Serpentine Gallery in Kensington Gardens, London. In 2002, Ito designed this contemporary pavilion.

In 2004, Ito designed the Matsumoto Performing Art centre in Nagano Prefecture, Japan. At night, the rock-like shapes on the outer wall light up, resulting in a modern, yet natural, presence.

TOD's Omotesando Building is located on a tree-lined street in Tokyo. Ito designed the building in 2004, and like many of his other buildings, it has a natural feel: its facade mimics branches and there's lots of natural light inside the construction.

Mikimoto Ginza was completed in 2005 and is located in the Ginza shopping district in Tokyo. All the windows are different, giving the building the appearance of Swiss cheese.

Designed in 2006, Singapore's VivoCity is the largest shopping mall in the country.

In 2007, Ito designed the library of Tama Art University, one of Japan's best universities for art in Tokyo. With many arches and a lot of glass, the building blends well into its natural surroundings.

World Games Stadium is the largest stadium, in terms of capacity, in Taiwan. It is also covered with thousands of solar panels and has the potential ability to power a large percentage of the surrounding area.

Ito designed the Suites Avenue Building, a striking upscale hotel with a unique facade in Barcelona in 2009.

The Torre Realia BCN and Hotel Porta Fira, both in Barcelona, are 24 and 28 stories, respectively. Ito designed the two complementary towers, which were completed between 2009 and 2010.

In 2011, Ito designed the Toyo Ito Museum of Architecture in Imabari, Japan. The building's geometric design stands in stark contrast with the natural peaks and sea in the background.

Ito designed the Ken Iwata Mother and Child Museum in 2011. The outside resembles a fort or prison, but the centre is an open grassy area. It is also located next to the sea in Imabari, Japan.

Toyo Ito is not the only architect who can create awesome buildings.

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