PRITZKER WINNER

Pritzker Prize Winner Toyo Ito’s Architecture Masterpieces (PHOTOS

Seventy-one-year-old Toyo Ito just won the Nobel Prize of the architecture world. See his best work.

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James Brittain/View, via Getty

Serpentine Gallery Summer Pavilion

SERPENTINE GALLERY PAVILION

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Serpentine Gallery Summer Pavilion

Seventy-one-year-old Toyo Ito just won this year’s Nobel Prize of the architecture world. Praised as a “creator of timeless buildings,” he is known for taking inspiration from natural structures. From the angular Serpentine Gallery Summer Pavilion the Sendai Mediatheque, see photos of his best work.

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Serpentine Gallery Summer Pavilion

This temporary gallery pavilion, built in 2002, no longer stands, but the “lesson in imagination” that it taught onlookers lives on. Though at first the structure appears to be fashioned in a random pattern, it derives from an algorithm of a cube that expands as it is rotated, giving it a fractal sense of infinitely repeated motion.

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Serpentine Gallery Summer Pavilion

An exterior view of the pavilion, where summertime Londoners snacked in Kensington Gardens.

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Za-Koenji Theater

Toyo Ito’s Za-Koenji Public Theater replaced the old Koenji Hall in 2008 in a residential district of Tokyo. Taking into consideration the acoustic requirements of the district, Ito designed a “closed” space with walls and a roof constructed of steel plate-reinforced concrete. Height requirements also prompted Ito to put a small main theater, the cafeteria, and offices above ground level, with the rest of the theaters and venues placed at basement levels.

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Za-Koenji Theater

The exterior of the Za-Koenji Theater shows its roof, which was carved out of a cube by five elliptic cones and two cylinders. Its shape creates a sense of both dynamic movement and lightness.

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Bruges Pavilion

Ito’s Bruges Pavilion was commissioned in 2002 as a temporary, one-year installment, meant to symbolize the desire for Bruges to “become a contemporary city.” The airy, modern structure was placed in a park, at the site of a destroyed church, next to the city’s town hall. Its hexagonal walls created a sense of lightness that is consistent in Ito’s work.

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Bruges Pavilion

Initially placed in a pond of water, the pavilion had a bridge to allow access. However, though the pavilion was only meant to stand one year, more than a decade passed, and it has since fallen into disrepair.

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Sendai Mediatheque

Toyo Ito’s Sendai Mediatheque, constructed in 2001, was designed as a transparent media center supported by 13 vertical steel lattice columns stretching from the floor to the roof . In addition to resonating in appearance with the large trees that stand outside the building, the columns also function as light shafts and storage for utilities, networks, and systems.

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Sendai Mediatheque

An exterior view of the mediatheque. Each floor is a steel-ribbed slab less than 16 inches thick that, because of the building’s transparent walls, appears to float, supported only by the lattice columns.

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Meiso No Mori Municipal Funeral Hall

This funeral hall, erected in 2006 in collaboration with the structure engineer Mutsuro, stands as a serene and contemplative place in which to observe the rituals of cremation. Accordingly, its roof acts as a floating, undulating shell, sheltering the crematorium.

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Meiso No Mori Municipal Funeral Hall

The funeral hall was described by Ito “not as a conventional massive crematorium but as architecture of a spacious roof floating above the site like slowly drifting clouds, creating a soft field.”