What is architecture? / Arata Isozaki Wins 2019 Pritzker Prize

Congratulations to Arata Isozaki, winner of the 2019 Pritzker Prize, the highest honor in architecture for "consistent and significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture." An artist, musician, film maker, designer and philosopher from Japan, his career over six decades includes many prominent international works where he facilitated dialogue between East and West.

"Isozaki was one of the first Japanese architects to build outside of Japan during a time when western civilizations traditionally influenced the East, making his architecture--which was distinctively influenced by his global citizenry—truly International," said Tom Pritzker, Chairman of the Hyatt Foundation. "In a global world, architecture needs that communication."

Isozaki explained, "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?’,"

With a focus both in his home country and abroad, he contributed to the reconstruction of Post WWII Japan and in the 1980s pioneered exchange between Eastern and Western societies. He was a key influencer in framing European and American architecture with Japanese vision.

"Isozaki is a pioneer in understanding that the need for architecture is both global and local—that those two forces are part of a single challenge," says Justice Stephen Breyer, Pritzker Prize Jury Chair.

He is also a caring advocate for up-and-coming architects – many of whom have gone on to become distinguished architects themselves - and continues to promote their work, fostering a strong next generation of architects.

We are proud to have collaborated with him on the Allianz Tower, one of his selected works, which was completed in Milan in 2014 with local architecture Studio Andrea Maffei. We worked with façade contractor Focchi on this project to create a distinctive vertically curved glass façade.
"The exterior triple glass curtain wall is curved in billowing six-floor sections to diminish the reflection of the sun, while showcasing the natural light that illuminates the building. This vertical succession of rounded forms creates a feeling of slight movement as the building arises." - Arata Isozaki
Arata Isozaki is the 46th winner and joins the ranks of numerous Pritzker Prize Laureates we have collaborated with since 1983 winner Ieoh Ming Pei, who was the 5th winner in the Prize’s history (Deutches Histories Museum, 2001). More recently, we worked with 2017 laureates RCR Arquitectes from Catalonia on Albert Adrià’s Michelin-star restaurant, Enigma.

Read more about Arata Isozaki and the Prize