Pritzker Prize for 2019 awarded to Japanese architect Arata Isozaki
The Pritzker Prize, founded in 1979, is the Oscar of the architecture world. Each year, architects await the verdict of the jury with excitement and anticipation – and this year, the 100,000 US dollar prize went to Japanese architect Arata Isozaki. In the announcement, Isozaki is lauded for his “fresh approach” that never replicates the status quo, instead opting to carve out his own path.
Pritzker Prize winner for 2019: A visionary of his generation
“Isozaki was one of the first Japanese architects to build outside of Japan during a time when western civilizations traditionally influenced the East, making his architecture – which was distinctively influenced by his global citizenry – truly international”, comments Tom Pritzker from the Hyatt Foundation, the organisation behind the Pritzker Prize.
“In a global world, architecture needs that communication.” The work of the Japanese architect formed a bridge between east and west, transporting elements of style from his home country to virtually all continents. Isozaki’s most famous works include the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the Olympic stadium in Barcelona and the Daimler-Benz towers in Berlin. His designs incorporate the Japanese concept of “ma”, in which “negative spaces” – in the form of gaps or openings – are left untouched. The empty space – perhaps a light-flooded room – is full of possibilities, making it the actual focal point of the building – because it is in this space that things can be created and given meaning.
Over a hundred projects across the world
Isozaki, who was born in Ōita on the island of Kyūshū in south-west Japan, celebrated his first successes as an architect during the Allied occupation after the end of the Second World War. In the 1980s, he helped to bring Japanese design to Europe and the USA. In the Hyatt Foundation’s announcement, Isozaki’s modernist buildings are described as “geometrically simple” but “infused with theory and purpose”.
Following hot on the heels of Balkrishna Doshi’s win in 2018, the Pritzker Prize is now headed for Asia for the second time in a row. In previous years, prize winners have included renowned architects such as Zaha Hadid, Rem Koolhaas, Norman Foster and Hans Hollein.
Which architect do you think deserves to be nominated for next year’s Pritzker Prize?