Toyo Ito Wins the Pritzker
Storified by Richard Prouty· Mon, Mar 18 2013 12:28:15
On Sunday, March 17, Toyo Ito was named the recipient of the 2013 Pritzker Architecture Prize.
He is best known for his Sendai Mediatheque (above), which survived the 2011 earthquake in Japan. The video below shows Ito’s distinctive forms swaying in a terrifyingly long tremor.
2011.3.11 Earthquake Japan 地震 せんだいメディアテークにてwizneko
Ito was also involved in the rebuilding effort after the earthquake. He gathered some younger architects together and guided them in the development of a project called Home-for-All, which provides small communal spaces for those displaced by the disaster.
The jury citation praised him for departing from the orthodoxies of modernism.
He has gradually developed and perfected a personal architectural syntax, which combines structural and technical ingenuity with formal clarity. His forms do not comply with either a minimalist or a parametric approach. Different circumstances lead to different answers.pritzkerprize.com
Ito told the New York Times he was surprised he won because of his distance from Modernism.
In a telephone interview Mr. Ito, 71, said he was gratified by the honor, especially because it represents an acceptance of his position as an iconoclast who has challenged the past 100 years of Modernism. “I’ve been thinking that Modernism has already reached to the limit or a dead end,” Mr. Ito said through an interpreter. “I didn’t expect this surprising news, and I’m very happy about it.”nytimes.com
Ito left Modernism around the year 2000. The question is, to do what? Certainly not Post-Modernism. Together with recent Pritzker winners Peter Zumthor, Eduardo Souto de Moura, and Wang Shu, Ito seems to occupy an island of his own style, not quite Modernism, but not entirely not Modernism, either. Pritzker-level contemporary architecture is an archipelago of individual styles that all developed from Modernism.
His stadium for the 2009 World Games in Kaohsiung, Taiwan is iconic without being a brand.
The replication of forms and the long, sweeping lines of the stadium mark it as a product of the digital age. Only a computer could have held this design together. Yet, there’s nothing lazy about it. The design looks hand-crafted in a way that an HKS-designed stadium never does.