West News Wire: Arata Isozaki, a Japanese architect who won the Pritzker Prize and was hailed as a post-modern giant for fusing Eastern and Western cultures and histories in his works, passed away from old age. He was 91.

According to the Bijutsu Techo, one of Japan’s most renowned art journals, and other media, Isozaki passed away on Wednesday at his residence on the southern island of Okinawa.

In 2019, Isozaki received the Pritzker Architecture Prize, which is regarded as the top award in the discipline globally.

After completing his studies at the University of Tokyo, the premier university in Japan, Isozaki started his architectural career as an apprentice under the tutelage of Japanese icon Kenzo Tange, a 1987 Pritzker winner.

Isozaki founded his own office, Arata Isozaki & Associates, which he called “Atelier” around 1963, while working on a public library for his home prefecture of Oita — one of his earliest works.

He was one of the forerunners of Japanese architects who designed buildings overseas, transcending national and cultural boundaries, and also as a critic of urban development and city designs.

Among Isozaki’s 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. He also designed iconic building such as the Team Disney Building and the headquarters of the Walt Disney Company in Florida.

Born in 1931 in Oita, he was 14 when he saw the aftermath of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagaski in August 1945, which killed 210,000 people.

That led to his theory that buildings are transitory but also should please the senses.

Isozaki had said his hometown was bombed down and across the shore.

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

Isozaki was also a social and cultural critic. He ran offices in Tokyo, China, Italy and Spain, but moved to Japan’s southwestern region of Okinawa about five years ago. He has taught at Columbia University, Harvard and Yale. His works also include philosophy, visual art, film and theater.


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