This year’s “Nobel of architecture” prize goes to Arata Isozaki

6 March 2019

Arata Isozaki (all images via Pritzker Prize)

87-year-old Japanese architect Arata Isozaki has been awarded this year’s Pritzker Prize, an award often regarded as the “Nobel of architecture”.

Doled out to a living architect or architects whose work demonstrates a combination of “talent, vision, and commitment”, while producing a “consistent and significant” contribution to humanity through “the art of architecture”, the prize was established by the Pritzker family in 1979. Winners receive both $100,000 (roughly £75,000) and a bronze medallion. Previous winners include Zaha Hadid, Rem Koolhaas, and Oscar Niemeyer, the brains behind Brasilia.

Responsible for buildings such as The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, the Kyoto Concert Hall, and the semi-subterranean sports centre Palau Sant Jordi, built in Barcelona for the 1992 Olympic Games, Arata’s career began in the mid-1950s. His early style was described by Reyner Banham — arguably the finest architectural historian to ever emerge from the slightly-sleepy city of Norwich — as sitting somewhere between “new brutalism” and “metabolist architecture”.

The Pritzker Prize jury states that Arata is a designer in possession of “profound knowledge of architectural history and theory” who has consistently embraced the avant-garde, producing buildings that “defy stylistic categorisations, are constantly evolving, and always fresh in their approach”.

Arata is the 46th Laureate of the Pritzker Prize, and, bonus fact for the pub quiz question compilers out there with a penchant for cutting-edge architecture, the eighth to hail from Japan. He will get a big cheque and the aforementioned medallion at a prize-giving ceremony set to take place in Paris in May.


Palau Sant Jordi, photo courtesy of Hisao Suzuki


MoLA, photo courtesy of Yasuhiro Ishimoto


Domus: La Casa del Hombre, photo courtesy of Hisao Suzuki


Domus: La Casa del Hombre, photo courtesy of Hisao Suzuki

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Josh Baines

Josh Baines joined It's Nice That from July 2018 to July 2019 as News Editor, covering new high-profile projects, awards announcements, and everything else in between.

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