Japanese architect Toyo Ito was named the 2013 Pritzker Prize winner Friday. Known for combining exacting engineering with an esthetic that melds interiors with their outdoor surroundings, the Tokyo-based architect will accept his award, along with a $100,000 check, in a ceremony at Boston's John F. Kennedy Presidential Library on May 29th.
In a statement announcing the award, the Pritzker jury said of Ito: "His architecture projects an air of optimism, lightness and joy and is infused with both a sense of uniqueness and universality."
Ito's well-known past projects include the Sendai Mediatheque, Japan (2000), a glass cube whose core is pierced by latticed steel pipes, and the Kaohsiung National Stadium, Taiwan (2009), a solar-powered spiral arena with a snake-like skin.
"I didn't expect this surprising news, and I'm very happy about it," Ito said in an interview with the New York Times. The 71-year-old architect was born in Seoul and raised in Japan. He began his architecture career in 1965 after graduating from the University of Tokyo, and went on to found his own studio in 1971. His architectural practice ranges from residences to office buildings and public libraries.
The Pritzker Prize, established in 1979 by Cindy and Jay Pritzker, is recognized as the top international honor in architecture. Past winners have included Renzo Piano, I.M. Pei and Frank Gehry.
Currently on view in the group show "Redux" at New York's Cristin Tierney Gallery (through Feb. 4) are two works by Joe Fig, both related to his 200