Pritzker laureate Japanese architect Arata Isozaki dies at 91

Japanese architect Arata Isozaki died at the age of 91 on Wednesday at his home in Okinawa, according to the art magazine Bijutsu Techo.

The Pritzker-winning architect was known as a post-modern legend who blended culture and history of the East and the West.

Born in Oita in 1931, he began his career as an apprentice to Kenzo Tange, a 1987 Pritzker laureate.

In 1963, Isozaki founded his own office, Arata Isozaki and Associates, which he called “Atelier”.

Seen as one of the forerunners of Japanese architects who designed buildings overseas, his best-known works are the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles and the Palau Sant Jordi stadium in Barcelona built for the 1992 Summer Games.

In addition, he is also known for designing the Team Disney Building and the headquarters of the Walt Disney Company in Florida.

His work is known for going beyond national and cultural boundaries and seen as a critique of urban development and city designs.

He had offices in Tokyo, China, Italy and Spain, but moved to Japan’s southwestern region of Okinawa about five years ago.

Isozaki said that growing up in the aftermath of the US atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagaski, his childhood was informed by the desire to rebuild cities and homes.

“So I grew up near ground zero. It was in complete ruins, and there was no architecture, no buildings and not even a city,” he said when he received the Pritzker in 2019- the highest international honour in the field.

“So my first experience of architecture was the void of architecture, and I began to consider how people might rebuild their homes and cities.”

While giving him the award, Tom Pritzker, chairman of Hyatt Foundation, the award’s sponsor said: “Isozaki was one of the first Japanese architects to build outside of Japan during a time when western civilisations traditionally influenced the east.”

Isozaki also taught at Columbia University, Harvard and Yale.

(Additional reporting by agencies)