Toyo Ito (伊東豊雄, Itō Toyo'o; born 1941) is considered "one of the world's most innovative and influential architects" (Designboom). Ito is known for creating extreme conceptual architecture, in which he seeks to melt the physical and virtual worlds. He is a leading exponent of architecture that addresses issues of the contemporary notion of a 'simulated' city.
Ito was born in Seoul, South Korea to Japanese parents. He graduated from the Department of Architecture of Tokyo University in 1965. For his undergraduate diploma design, he submitted a proposal for the reconstruction of Ueno Park, which won the top prize of the University of Tokyo.
After working for Kiyonori Kikutake Architect and Associate from 1965 to 1969, he started his own studio, 'Urban Robot' (urbot) in 1971 in Tokyo. In 1979, the studio changed its name to Toyo Ito & Associates, Architects.
Throughout his early career Toyo Ito constructed numerous private housing projects that revealed the hidden layer of urban life in Japan. His most remarkable early conceptual contributions were made through the projects of this scale, such as White U (House) in 1976 and Silver Hut in 1984.
With the 'Pao for the Tokyo Nomad Girl' Project's in 1985 Toyo Ito developed a vision of the life of an Urban Nomad, illustrious to the human life involved in the bubble economy of Japan. His "Tower of Winds" in Yokohama in 1986 and "Egg of Winds" in 1991 have interactive landmarks in the public space as the result of creative confrontation with the technical possibilities which the future will bring.
Toyo Ito is known in Japan to raise a talented younger generation of architects. Architects who worked for his office include, Kazuyo Sejima (SANAA), Klein Dytham, and Katsuya Fukushima.
Ito has received numerous international awards, including in 2010, the 22nd Praemium Imperiale in Honor of Prince Takamatsu; in 2006, The Royal Institute of British Architects’ Royal Gold Medal; and in 2002, the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement for the 8th Venice Biennale International Exhibition.
In 2013 Toyo Ito received the Pritzker Prize.
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