The Pritzker Prize is generally regarded as the most prestigious award in architecture and previous recipients read like a who's who of architectural luminaries, including Zaha Hadid, Frank Gehry, and Shigeru Ban. Renowned Japanese architect Arata Isozaki now joins these ranks as the 2019 Pritzker Prize winner.
Isozaki was born in Ōita, on the Island of Kyushu, Japan, in 1931. He was just a 12 year old boy when Hiroshima and Nagasaki were devastated during WWII and the events clearly influenced him and his works.
"When I was old enough to begin an understanding of the world, my hometown was burned down," says Isozaki. "Across the shore, the Atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, so I grew up on ground zero. It was in complete ruins, and there was no architecture, no buildings and not even a city. Only barracks and shelters surrounded me. So, my first experience of architecture was the void of architecture, and I began to consider how people might rebuild their homes and cities."
Isozaki began his career with an apprenticeship under another Japanese future Pritzker Prize winner, Kenzo Tange, and established his own firm, Arata Isozaki & Associates in 1963.
His early output includes the Kitakyushu Central Library, shown below. Completed in 1974, it was inspired by the proposed design for the French National Library, by architect Étienne-Louis Boullée. The building's two large barrel vaults run parallel before curving separately and contrast with the rectangular glazing.
The Qatar National Convention Centre, pictured below, is another highlight. Located in Doha, the building was completed in 2011 and is defined by tree-like columns that appear to support a cantilevering roof. The design is inspired by the Sidrat al-Muntaha, a holy Islamic tree that symbolizes the end of the seventh heaven. It's also rated LEED Gold (a green building standard), and features water saving technology and a large solar panel array on its roof.
The Ark Nova, below, is yet another standout. The strange inflatable concert hall was created in collaboration with Indian sculptor Anish Kapoor and completed in 2013. The PVC-coated polyester structure toured areas of Japan that were affected by the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in 2011 and seats up to 500 people.
"Possessing a profound knowledge of architectural history and theory, and embracing the avant-garde, he never merely replicated the status quo, but 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," says the Pritzker Prize jury.
Head to the gallery to see a selection of this remarkable architect's varied works, spanning his long career.
Source: Pritzker Prize
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