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Japanese architect Toyo Ito has won the Pritzker Architecture Prize for his unique designs throughout his career.
The 71-year-old won what is considered the Nobel Prize of his field and will receive the award on May 29 in a ceremony at the JFK Presidential Library in Boston, notes The New York Times. He will also receive $100,000.
“Toyo Ito is a creator of timeless buildings, who at the same time boldly charts new paths,” the Pritzker jury said about his work. “His architecture projects an air of optimism, lightness and joy and is infused with both a sense of uniqueness and universality.”
“I’ve been thinking that Modernism has already reached to the limit or a dead end,” Ito told the times in an interview Sunday. “I didn’t expect this surprising news, and I’m very happy about it.”
Some in the architecture community felt that this honor was overdue for Ito, who started his career in 1965 and started his own firm in 1971, notes The BBC.
Ito’s unique designs include London’s Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, the Municipal Funeral Hall in Gifu, Japan and the Sendai Mediatheque library in Miyagi, Japan. That last creation is one of his proudest achievements and famously withstood a 2011 earthquake.
Last year, Chinese architect Wang Shu won the award.