OBITUARY / World-renowned architect Arata Isozaki dies at 91

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Arata Isozaki in September 2019

The world-renowned architect Arata Isozaki died Wednesday at the age of 91.

Isozaki was also known as a critic whose writing incorporated ideas about art and society.

Born in Oita, Isozaki studied under the revered architect Kenzo Tange at the University of Tokyo’s graduate school, where he was a member of an urban planning project called “A Plan for Tokyo 1960,” working with Kisho Kurokawa and other renowned designers.

Isozaki began architectural design as a student and established Arata Isozaki & Associates in 1963.

He was in charge of designing equipment for the Tange-designed Festival Plaza for Expo 1970 in Osaka Prefecture and created a pioneering computer-controlled sound and lighting system.

Words such as “ruins” and “architectural dismantling” appear in his writing, based on his experiences amid the destruction of air raids during World War II.

Isozaki interacted with avant-garde artists, literary figures and thinkers in Japan and abroad, and those influences were evident in the way he integrated ideas on design and civilization in his works.

His most famous buildings include the Museum of Modern Art, Gunma; Art Tower Mito; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and the Team Disney Building in Florida.

In 2019, Isozaki won the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize, which is known as the Nobel Prize of Architecture. He is also the recipient of the Architectural Institute of Japan’s Annual Prize, the Royal Institute of British Architects Gold Medal, the Mainichi Art Award and the Asahi Prize.