Arata Isozaki crowned himself with the Pritzker Prize, the Nobel of Architecture. Here are ten pictures for you to see why he deserved the coveted award.
The president of the Hyatt foundation announced the recipient of the 2019 Pritzker Prize, the Nobel Prize for architects, to be the 87 year old Arata Isozaki. To look at the work of this architect is to understand the combination between traditional Japanese architecture and modernity imported from Europe.
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“I wanted to see the world through my own eyes, so I traveled around the globe at least ten times before I turned thirty. I wanted to feel the life of people in different places and visited extensively inside Japan, but also to the Islamic world, villages in the deep mountains of China, South East Asia, and metropolitan cities in the U.S. I was trying to find any opportunities to do so, and through this, I kept questioning, ‘what is architecture?’".- Arata Isozaki
As an eclectic architect, the Japanese concept of "Ma" or "in-between" is essential to his work. Read more: The Day The Most Iconic Architect Died Because Everybody Thought He Was A Beggar
And this makes perfect sense since Isozaki, though he started as a brutalist (with a heavy use of concrete), began to fully incorporate Western influence to his work, yet filling it with a truly Japanese obsessive attention to detail.
Take this amazing building in Barcelona, for example. The Casaramona textile factory was an avant-garde building back in the early 20th century. Casaramona was itself part of Spain's cultural heritage and it's one of the most important symbols of Catalan modernist architecture with it all-brick facade and industrial look that would later become "La Fundació La Caixa" Cultural Center. Isozaki was later in charge of part of its rehabilitation with a project that involved a lobby, entrance, and a patio. He and his team kept the facade almost entirely and instead excavated a basement to the main entrance as well as to an auditorium and a media library. Then they built a courtyard below the level of the street, composed only of a few walls of sillerá of limestone and a floating pavement of large dimensions of the same material. A small enclosure conformed by these ashlar masonry walls and known as the Secret Garden is a room intended for an outdoor exhibition program. The entrance to the the main level of the lobby from the street is through a route of stairs, escalators, or an elevator. All of these are protected by a structure that has a certain sculptural element to it known by "Tetsuju" (iron tree) realized in steel and with a cover of glass. The best way to describe Isokazi's work is to say it's clearly heterogeneous. His best known work is the Museum Of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, a sandstone building with a very Southern California style crowned with pyramidal skylights that grasp the sunlight.
Other prominent works include the Kitakyushu City Museum of Art (1972-1974 Fukuoka, Japan), Tsukuba Center Building, (1979-1983 Ibaraki, Japan), Art Tower Mito (1986-1990 Ibaraki, Japan), Nara Centennial Hall (1992-1998 Nara, Japan), Pala Alpitour (2002-2006 Torino, Italy), Himalayas Center (2003-2013 Shanghai, China), Allianz Tower (2003-2014 Milan, Italy), Qatar National Convention Center (2004-2011 Doha, Qatar), and Shanghai Symphony Hall (2008-2014 Shanghai, China).
Isokazi is an architect not only for Japan, but for the entire World.