Architect Toyo Ito

Architect Toyo Ito

Japanese Architect Toyo Ito (71) has been awarded the 2013 Pritzker Architecture Prize, one of the field’s most prestigious awards, for his conceptually creative designs and “timeless” buildings.

Ito’s early career was marked by small, imaginative projects like 1976’s “White U”, a U-shaped home designed for his widowed sister, who had grown tired of Tokyo’s towering high-rise apartment buildings.

In 1995, Ito designed the Sendai Mediatheque library, a cube-shaped structure with floors suspended on steel pipes that Ito calls “tubes.” Construction was completed in 2001. Some of Ito’s other creations include the curvaceous Municipal Funeral Hall in Gifu, Japan, the arch-filled Tama Art University library in suburban Tokyo, the spiral White O residence in Marbella, Chile and the angular 2002 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion in London.

“Toyo Ito’s architecture has improved the quality of both public and private spaces,” said US supreme court justice Stephen Breyer, who served on the jury.

Ito has said his work seeks to “erase conventional meaning… through minimalist tactics” including architecture that “resembles air and wind” according to the prize committee.

Ito is the sixth Japanese architect to be awarded the prize.