The Hyatt Foundation has awarded the 2019 Pritzker Prize to Arata Isozaki, one of the masters of Japanese architecture, a bridge between the modernity imported from Europe on one hand, and eclectic international modernity on the other.
Born in Oita in 1931, Isozaki studied architecture and engineering at the University of Tokyo and there met Kenzo Tange, a major influence in his training and under whom he worked up to 1963, when he set up his own practice. Isozaki’s early works syncretic, but in the troubled 1970s, the search for inspiration in Japanese tradition gave way to a design process combining structural expertise with an internationalist attitude of openness to the tendencies of the period. Because of this he was soon described as a cosmopolite and an eclectic with the capacity to undertake projects like the Qatar National Convention Center, an example which shows how Isozaki’s studio has evolved into the vigorous global firm that in three decades has carried out more than a hundred buildings throughout the world, among them the Palau de Sant Jordi for the Olympic Games of 1992 in Barcelona, a construction that is extraordinary in its spatial conception, structural rigor, and material execution. Many architects still retain in their retinas the image of the indoor sporting arena’s large lattices raised bit by bit with the help of hydraulic jacks.
The Pritzker awarding ceremony will take place in May in Paris.