Arata Isozaki


© Pritzker Architecture Prize


Arata Isozaki died on 29 December at 91. He did not have a readily recognizable style; his mood was pragmatic, even eclectic, and this turned him into the best representative of the rich variety that has characterized Japanese architecture over the last sixty years. A disciple of the father of modernity in Japan, Kenzo Tange, Isozaki’s early career was influenced by the brutalist style of his master, and while it is true that he managed to balance the expressive use of reinforced concrete with references to traditional culture, it is no less certain that this did not prevent him from giving in, like Tange, to the metabolic dreams that for a while turned Japan into one of the centers of the architectural avant-garde in the sixties. But the main career shift of Isozaki – Pritzker Prize 2019 – happened in the seventies, when he domesticated postmodernity in that pragmatic, elegant, and rigorous key that would become his sign of identity and source of commissions and fame. His profuse and diverse oeuvre seems refractory to anthology, but in Spain we can remember the Domus building in A Coruña and Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona, one of the symbols of the Olympic Games of 1992.

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