Japanese Architect Arata Isozaki Wins 2019 Pritzker Prize

Renowned Japanese architect, Arata Isozaki, has just taken home the prestigious annual Pritzker Prize.  According to the Hyatt Foundation, who sponsors the award, the purpose of the Pritzker Prize is:

To honour a living architect or architects whose built work demonstrates a combination of those qualities of talent, vision and commitment, which has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture.

Those who receive the award are considered among the best architects in the world – a  title which Isozaki is suitably claiming.

Arata Isozaki won the Pritzker Prize due to his innovations in combining local Japanese design with contemporary technology and building methods from around the world. Isozaki’s style is constantly evolving, defying a set category or genre.

The Pritzker Prize winner grew up close to the decimated city of Hiroshima. As a result of the area he grew up, Isozaki says his initial knowledge of architecture was its void and the absence of design beauty.

Isozaki has since dedicated his life to the pursuit of perfect architectural design, incorporating a beautiful balance between Japanese and international design, completing over 100 major projects. These are some of his best.

Qatar National Convention Centre, Qatar (2013)


The inspiration for the Qatar National Convention Centre can be seen in the tree-like beams that support the building. These branches are in reference to the holy Islamic Sidrat al-Muntaha tree. The building’s rectangular glass face offers a direct outer view for the up-to-7000 visitors.

Nara Centennial Hall, Japan (1999)


The Centennial Hall celebrates 100 years of Nara’s official title as a city. These type of sentimental design buildings are Isozaki’s metaphorical bread and butter. The reflective grey tiles are a nod the local Todaiji temple.


Palau Sant Jordi, Spain (1992)


Completed just in time for the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, this sports centre includes 17,000 seats, which is covered by an eccentric domed roof. This design embodies the historical design features of the local Catalonia area.

Museum Of Modern Art Gunma, Japan (1974)


Among Isozaki’s sea of architectural masterpieces, the Museum of Modern Art Gunma stands out as uniquely special. There is always a challenge in designing museums as there is no utility in the building being more captivating than the housed exhibits. Isozaki walks a thin line but delivers with minimalist beauty.

Arata Isozaki will receive $100,000 USD when he is awarded the Pritzker Prize at the Château de Versailles in May.


Jay is a writer and content producer for The Versatile Gent.