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Toyo Ito, designer of strong and beautiful buildings, wins Pritzker Prize

Posting in Architecture

Toyo Ito, the Japanese architect who designed a library that survived the devastating 2011 earthquake in Japan, is the winner of the highest global honor in architecture: the Pritzker Prize.

The Pritzker jury committee calls him a "creator of timeless buildings" and cites him for "infusing his designs with a spiritual dimension and for the poetics that transcend all his works." The honor was announced on March 17. Ito will receive the award on May 29 in Washington, D.C.

His design for the Sendai Mediatheque (above), the library in Sendai-shi, Miyagi, Japan that withstood the 2011 earthquake ten years after it was completed, is one of Ito's favorite projects, as he has noted in the media.

Ito is known for his adventurous style, one that combines chic, geometric elegance and, as the Pritzker jury stated, "a sense of public responsibility," the New York Times reported.

Toyo Ito

Even after winning the Pritzker, Ito was quick to show that he is admirably humble. But he also admits that this aspect of his personality drives his creativity.

Ito states in the Pritzker Prize media kit materials:

"…when one building is completed, I become painfully aware of my own inadequacy, and it turns into energy to challenge the next project.

...Probably this process must keep repeating itself in the future…Therefore, I will never fix my architectural style and never be satisfied with my works."

Lucky for the world, Ito will remain unsatisfied and will push toward creating ever more beautiful, and responsible, buildings.

Images, from top: Toyo Ito Museum of Architecture, 2006—2011, Imabari-shi, Ehime, Japan, photo by Daici Ano; Sendai Mediatheque, 1995—2000, Sendai-shi, Miyagi, Japan, photo by Tomio Ohashi; photo of Toyo Ito by Yoshiaki Tsutsui

— By on March 18, 2013, 1:09 PM PST

Reena Jana

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Reena Jana has written for the New York Times, Wired, Harvard Business Review online, Fast Company, Architectural Record, Artforum, Time Out New York, Harper's Bazaar, and GQ. Previously, she was the innovation department editor at BusinessWeek. She holds degrees from Columbia University and Barnard College. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure