Human Interest

Prolific Japanese architect Arata Isozaki dies at 91

Tokyo, Dec 30 (EFE).- Prolific Pritzker Prize-winning Japanese architect Arata Isozaki has died at the age of 91, his office said Friday.

He passed away due to old age in his home in Naha, Okinawa, on Wednesday.

Born in 1931 in the city of Oita, on the island of Kyushu, Isozaki grew up at a time marked by the atomic bombings of the nearby cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and during the country’s postwar period.

“My first encounter in architecture was ground zero – no architecture, no city,” he said in 2019 when he won the Pritzker Prize, considered the Nobel Prize of architecture.

“I became interested in how architecture and a city can rise up from ground zero.”

After graduating with majors in architecture and engineering from the prestigious University of Tokyo, he began working in the studio of the internationally renowned architect Kenzo Tange, one of the figures of the so-called metabolist architecture and fellow Pritzker laureate.

In 1963 Isozaki established his own studio, and his early works, such as the Oita Prefectural Library, were a cross between Japanese metabolism and the new European brutalism.

His projects, always eclectic and without a totally defined style, began to take on a more modernist lean as the years went by and he began to carry out works abroad, including the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles and the Sant Jordi Palace in Barcelona, the first of many works in Spain.

In a telephone conversation with EFE architect Toyo Ito said Isozaki helped his generation by always inviting them to his house and introducing them to people, including many from abroad.

Ito, born in 1941 and also one of the great names in Japanese architecture, also recognized the impetus that Isozaki gave to his projects, such as the Sendai Mediatheque, having presided over the juries that awarded him.

Isozaki was an “extraordinarily intellectual architect” who also achieved a perfect connection between words and architecture, Ito added. EFE


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