Pritzker Prize 2019 awarded to Arata Isozaki

by Andrew Manns | 06 Mar 2019

Japanese architect Arata Isozaki has been named this year's recipient of the Pritzker Prize – widely considered the highest honour in the world of architecture.

Isozaki, 88, has enjoyed a six-decades-long career that goes back to postwar Japan.

An early populariser of Metabolism – a postmodernist architecture style developed in the 1960s – Isozaki drew influence from diverse cultures, including "the Islamic world, villages in the deep mountains of China, South East Asia, and metropolitan cities in the US".

Recalling his learning journey, he said: "I was trying to find any opportunities to feel the life of people in different places, and through this, I kept questioning, 'what is architecture?'"

Speaking on the announcement of the award, Tom Pritzker, chairman of the Hyatt Foundation, commented: "Isozaki was one of the first Japanese architects to build outside of Japan during a time when western civilisations traditionally influenced the East, making his architecture – which was distinctively influenced by his global citizenry – truly international."

Justice Stephen Breyer, jury chair, said: "Isozaki is a pioneer in understanding that the need for architecture is both global and local."

He added: "For many years, he has been trying to make certain that areas of the world that have long traditions in architecture are not limited to that tradition, but help spread those traditions while simultaneously learning from the rest of the world."

Isozaki's select realised and unrealised works include the Tsukuba Center Building, the New Tokyo City Hall, the Art Tower in Mito, the Joint Core System, the Qatar National Convention Centre, and the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art – his first international commission.

The eighth Pritzker laureate to hail from Japan, Isozaki will be officially commended by the awards committee in May in a ceremony at the Chateau de Versailles.

Arata Isozaki  Pritzker 
Japanese architect Arata Isozaki has been named this year's recipient of the Pritzker Prize – widely considered the highest honour in the world of architecture. Isozaki, 88, has enjoyed a six-decades-long career that goes back to postwar Japan. An early populariser of Metabolism – a postmodernist architecture style developed in the 1960s – Isozaki drew influence from diverse cultures, including "the Islamic world, villages in the deep mountains of China,
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Isozaki was an early promoter of the postwar Metabolist movement. / Photo via The Hyatt Foundation / The Pritzker Architecture Prize
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