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Top Architecture Prize

March 19th, 2013

2013 Pritzker Prize winner Toyo Ito of Japan. Photo credit: Yoshiaki Tsutsui/Pritzker Prize

Architecture’s biggest award, the Pritzker Prize , was announced on Sunday.

Seventy-one year old Toyo Ito, from Japan, is this year’s winner.

The award is pronounced Prits-ker.

Many architects think Mr. Ito is a great choice to win this prize, which is kind of like a cross between a lifetime achievement award and a Nobel prize.  Some architects feel he should have won it before now.

Mr. Ito won for his work in general, but there’s one building of his that really stands out — his Sendai Mediatheque. Take a close look at the picture, it’s really cool.

Toyo Ito's Sendai Mediatheque. Photo credit: Tomio Ohashi/Pritzker Prize

It’s a library in Japan famous for its white slanted tubes. See them in the photo inside the building?

Those groupings of slanted metal do two things: they help hold up the building in a really unusual looking way, and he arranged the metal structures so there’s enough space for the staircases and elevators to be inside. So, people move through them (with the smaller white tubes around them)!

Mr. Ito had also designed the building to withstand an earthquake, which it did — the devastating earthquake in Japan in 2011. (You can read HTE’s story about the earthquake  here ). During the earthquake the books fell off the shelves as people hid under tables. There is video of the earthquake from inside the Sendai Mediatheque here .

Pritzker medal. Image via Wikimedia Commons

In addition to the award, Mr. Ito will also be presented with a medal and $100,000.

Congratulations to Mr. Ito for a prestigious career and award — pretty great for someone who, as a kid, wanted to be a baseball player instead!

Toyo Ito is not in the video above, but it’s a good introduction to some famous architects and their best known works. Some of Toyo Ito’s other work is below, or click  here .

What do you think of Mr. Ito’s work? What kind of building would you design if you were an architect?

Toyo Ito's Tower of Winds. Photo credit: Tomio Ohashi/Pritzker Prize


Main stadium for World Games, 2009, Tawain/China. Photo credit: Fu Tsu Construction/Pritzker Prize


Toyo Ito's Matsumoto Arts Center, Japan. Photo credit: Hiroshi Ueda/Pritzker Prize

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