Toyo Ito (June 1, 1941) turns 72 today, only three days after receiving the Pritzker Prize in Boston. In his acceptance speech Wednesday night, Ito explained that for him, “the task of the architect is to release people from [conventional and] restrictive frameworks by creating spaces in which they feel at ease and in which they can attain some degree of freedom.”
Not only is Toyo Ito renowned for striving to make flexible spaces that appeal to the human senses, he also draws most of his inspiration from the organic forms of nature and prioritizes fluidity between the natural world and the built form in his designs. Yet despite having a specific perspective on what architects and architecture should aspire to be, Ito defies definition – each of his many works is extremely unique and he is famous for being able to “synthesize many architectural languages and functionalities in the expression of one personal ‘syntax’.”
We invite you to explore the work of this year’s most celebrated architect after the break.
Last night we attended the Pritkzer Prize ceremony, where the 2013 laureate Toyo Ito accepted the prestigious award at the JFK Presidential Library in Boston.
On his acceptance speech, Toyo Ito recognised the team that has worked with him during his 42 years of practice, including engineers and architects who attended the ceremony, including a very special former employee: Kazuyo Sejima, who worked with him for 7 years before establishing her practice, and also a Pritzker laureate (2010). As Ito said “Making architecture is not something one does alone; one must be blessed with many good collaborators to make it happen”.
And then, Ito continued his wonderful speech on how modern architecture and nature have been in a constant clash, how he has approached this relation and what he hopes for the future, appealing to JFK’s famous quote ”ask not what America will do for you” to propose the question “What can we ourselves do for the freedom of man?”.
The full speech is reproduced below, so you can understand how Ito’s passion for architecture and critic view of the state of world turns into a message of union for architects:
Thomas J. Pritzker has announced that the Pritzker Architecture Prize has added two deserving jurors to their esteemed panel, stating: “We are delighted to welcome to the jury two individuals of great insight – Kristin Feireiss and Ratan N. Tata. [...] From different countries and backgrounds, they share a commitment to the art of architecture and its social responsibility. Each will be a tremendous asset to the Pritzker Architecture Prize.”
In recognition of his contributions to architecture in both theory and practice Fumihiko Maki was recently named the 2011 AIA Gold Medal Winner. Maki, arguably one of Japan’s most distinguished living architects, will be honored with the award in New Orleans at the AIA National Convention.
“He has a unique style of Modernism that is infused with an ephemeral quality and elegance which reflects his Japanese origin. What stands out most about Mr. Maki is the consistent quality of his work at the highest caliber and the creation of ineffable atmospheres; his buildings convey a quiet and elegant moment of reflection,” colleague Toshiko Mori, FAIA, said of Maki.
Also noteworthy is Fumihiko Maki’s close working relationship with each employee. Forty architects, urban planners, and administrative personnel, make up the staff of Maki and Associates, which is the type of working environment where each member is involved in and responsible for all aspects of projects. Maki himself is at the head of each commission and maintains the leadership role through to completion, including construction supervision. Established in 1965 Maki and Associates throughout its 42 years has been based in Tokyo, Japan. Maki studied at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and Cranbrook Academy of Art, but has spent the majority of his life in Japan.
Examples of Maki’s work include:
The Spiral in Tokyo, Japan
The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, California
The Kaze-No-Oka Crematorium in Kyushu, Japan
Triad in Nagano, Japan
The Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Maki is the 67th AIA Gold Medalist and joins a prestigious list including Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Sullivan, Renzo Piano, I.M. Pei, Cesar Pelli, Santiago Calatrava and last year’s recipient, Peter Bohlin, FAIA.
He has received numerous awards including the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1993.
ArchDaily would like to wish Oscar Niemeyer a Happy 103rd Birthday today. In 1988, at age 81, Niemeyer was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize, together with American architect Gordon Bunshaft. Setting the pace for us all, Niemeyer continues to practice architect from his office in Rio de Janeiro, with ongoing projects in Brazil and Spain. He even recently composed the song Tranquilo com a Vida, download and listen here.
Richard Meier and Oscar Niemeyer met in October and here are some photos that Richard Meier & Partners shared with ArchDaily. We will soon be featuring an interview with Richard Meier, so be sure to keep a look out.
Follow the break for Richard Meier and Oscar Niemeyer.