finally, toyo ito wins the pritzker prize, congratulations! for at least a decade toyo ito has been a presumed pritzker front-runner. this year’s jury praised him for the ambition of his civic projects and for producing buildings that ‘seem effortlessly in balance.’ ‘toyo ito is a creator of timeless buildings, who at the same time boldly charts new paths,’ the pritzker jury said in its citation. ‘his architecture projects an air of optimism, lightness and joy and is infused with both a sense of uniqueness and universality.’


toyo ito, the 71 year old architect whose architectural practice is based in tokyo, japan, will be the recipient of the 2013 pritzker architecture prize. it was announced today by thomas j. pritzker, chairman of the hyatt foundation which sponsors the prize. ito is the sixth japanese architect to become a pritzker laureate — the first five being the late kenzo tange in 1987, fumihiko maki in 1993, tadao ando in 1995, and the team of kazuyo sejima and ryue nishizawa in 2010.


in 2010 he has been awarded the praemium imperiale in the architecture category. he is best known for his 2001 sendai mediatheque, a seven-story glass building that was dramatically shaken, though only lightly damaged, by the tohoku earthquake in 2011  (a video of the inside of the building taken by someone under a table during the earthquake went viral). recently ito has been working with a group of  tokyo-based architects to develop community centers for northeast japan hit hard by the earthquake and tsunami. toyo ito, curator of the japan pavilion received the golden lion at the 2012 venice architecture biennale.


toyo ito has designed museums, stadiums, houses and commercial buildings across japan. his largest and most ambitious project to date, the 620,000 square-foot taichung metropolitan opera house, is under construction in taiwan and due to open next year. ito will receive the award at the john f. kennedy presidential library and museum in boston on may 29.


from the archive: see all of toyo ito’s work featured on designboom here.