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Toyo Ito wins 2017 UIA Gold Medal

Japan Architecture News - Aug 3, 2017 - 17:51   17433 views

Toyo Ito wins 2017 UIA Gold Medal

The International Union of Architects (UIA) has announced acclaimed Japanese architect Toyo Ito as the winner of the 2017 UIA Gold Medal, within the scope of the UIA Gold Medal & Prizes, given since 1961. The UIA Prizes are given in every 3 years to "honour professionals whose qualities, talents, and actions have had an international impact on the diverse sectors of architectural practice." 

This year, the UIA Secretariat received 46 nominations and selected Toyo Ito as the winner of the 2017 UIA Gold Medal, recognized as the UIA's top honor. Toyo Ito was nominated by the Japan Institute of Architects.

Toyo Ito wins 2017 UIA Gold Medal

Gifu Media Cosmos by Toyo Ito & Associates in Gifu, Japan (2015). Image © 2017 Casey Bryant

The Jury, composed of UIA Bureau Members, included President Esa Mohamed (Malaysia), Past President Albert Dubler (France), Secretary General Thomas Vonier (USA), Treasurer Fabian Llisterri (Spain), and Vice-Presidents David Falla (UK), Deniz Incedayi (Turkey), Carlos Alvarez (Costa Rica), Yolanda Reyes (Philippines) and Ali Hayder (Sudan).

Pritzker Prize-winning architect Toyo Ito, 76, is a leading Japanese architect internationally known for conceptual and innovative designs. He graduated from Department of Architecture, University of Tokyo in 1965 and worked for Kiyonori Kikutake Architect and Associates until 1969. In 1971, he founded his own studio Urban Robot (URBOT) in Tokyo, which was renamed Toyo Ito & Associates, Architects in 1979. 

Toyo Ito wins 2017 UIA Gold Medal

Koo Chen-Fu Memorial Library, College of Social Sciences, National Taiwan University, Taiwan (2014). Image courtesy of Howlingpixel

Many of Ito’s works across Japan and overseas have made a strong impact on architectural design. He frequently challenges common practice and seeks to explore new potentials with creative interplay between form, structure, space, nature and contexts, resulting in unique spatial solutions never before seen. 

Among his critically-acclaimed projects are Sendai Mediatheque (2001), Serpentine Pavilion Gallery in London’s Hyde Park (2002), TOD'S Omotesando Building (2004), Tama Art University Library (2007). Recently, his awarded design for Japanese Pavilion in the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale represented the concept of "Home-for-All" communal space for disaster survivors in Japan. 

Toyo Ito wins 2017 UIA Gold Medal

Tama Art University Library in Hachioji campus, Tokyo, (2007). Image © Ishiguro Photographic Institute

It questioned a lack of humanity in modern design and brought back to the fundamental, primal meaning of architecture. Toyo Ito has been praised to receive several awards, including the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2013, the 22nd Praemium Imperiale in Honor of Prince Takamatsu in 2010, the Royal Gold Medal from the Royal Institute of British Architects in 2006, and the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement from the 8th International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale in 2002. 

Toyo Ito wins 2017 UIA Gold Medal

Taichung Metropolitan Opera House In Taiwan (2016). Image © Lucas K Doolan

His work has been published and exhibited extensively worldwide. He has taught as a visiting professor at several universities including the University of Tokyo, Columbia University, the University of California, Los Angeles, Kyoto University, and Tama Art University, and hosted an overseas studio for Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design in 2012.

The UIA's other prizes include:

The Auguste Perret Prize for Applied Technology in Architecture will go to Nikolay Shumakov (Russia), nominated by the UIA’s Russian Member Section.

The Jean Tschumi Prize for Architectural Criticism or Architectural Education was attributed to Professor Ashraf M Salama (Egypt), nominated by the UIA’s Egyptian Member Section.

The Robert Matthew Prize for the Improvement of the Quality of Human Settlements went to South African Carin Smuts. Ms. Smuts was nominated by the UIA’s French Section.

The Vassilis Sgoutas Prize recognizing inventive, implemented architectural solutions for reducing poverty and indigence was awarded to Vietnamese Hoang Thuc Hao. Mr. Hoang was nominated by the UIA’s Vietnamese Section.

This year, the Jury decided not to attribute a prize for the Sir Patrick Abercrombie Prize for Town-Planning or Territorial Development. The winners will be presented with their medal at the Awards Ceremony on 6 September, which will culminate the activities surrounding the 25th UIA World Congress in Seoul, Korea.

Top image © Yoshiaki Tsutsui

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