Like many of his generation, Arata Isozaki was strongly shaped by the destruction of Japanese cities during World War II. He studied architecture at the University of Tokyo, graduating in 1954 and working for Kenzo Tange—who was then working on plans for Tokyo’s future growth—until 1963. While others influenced by Tange, including Kiyonori Kikutake and Kisho Kurokawa, celebrated the possibilities of industrial society, Isozaki positioned himself in opposition to this, instead theorizing an aesthetic to give form to the concept of obliteration, which he labeled “twilight gloom.” His Re-ruined Hiroshima project of 1968 envisions large structures built on the remains of the decimated city; these futuristic megastructures, like Hiroshima itself, are shown fallen into ruin. This polemical project powerfully illustrated the tension between ambition and trauma that accompanied the postwar transformation of Japan.

Isozaki’s early buildings, including the Oita Prefectural Library (1962–66) and the Oita branch of the Fukuoka Mutual Bank (1967), were heavily gridded. He used the uniformity of the grid to conceal the varying forms of these structures’ individual spaces, hiding the size, shape, and arrangement of the rooms and circulation routes inside the buildings. This style reached its apotheosis in the Gunma Prefectural Museum of Modern Art (1974), which takes the form of a cube paneled in aluminum, containing and separating artwork from the outside world. Following this, Isozaki’s style shifted, and he began exploring concrete vaults in his designs for the Kitakyushu Municipal Central Library (1974) and the Fujimi Country Club (1974). The trajectory of his work is characterized by both rupture and continuity and by his ongoing experimentation with form. With the advent of architectural postmodernism, he began to playfully reference Neoclassical tropes, as in his Tsukuba Civic Center (1983). In its large plaza and building complex, he employed both Japanese and Western motifs to create a space rich with dramatic material and spatial contrasts.

The later 1980s saw Isozaki gain increasing prominence outside Japan, leading to important international commissions to design the Museum of Contemporary Art Grand Avenue (MOCA Grand) in Los Angeles (1987) and Team Disney in Orlando, Florida (1991). He continues to design and remains a vital voice in global architecture.

Introduction by Anna Blair, 12-Month Intern, Department of Architecture and Design, 2016
Introduction
Arata Isozaki (磯崎 新, Isozaki Arata; born 23 July 1931) is a Japanese architect, urban designer, and theorist from Ōita. He was awarded the RIBA Gold Medal in 1986 and the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2019.
Wikidata
Q317135
Information from Wikipedia, made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License
Introduction
Born 23 July 1931. Some works of Isozaki are signed ISO (cf DR1987:0179). Japanese architect. He was awarded the Pritzker Prize in 2019.
Nationalities
Japanese, American
Gender
Male
Roles
Artist, Architect, Designer, Teacher, Theorist
Names
Arata Isozaki, ISO
Ulan
500024090
Information from Getty’s Union List of Artist Names ® (ULAN), made available under the ODC Attribution License

If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA's collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

All requests to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA should be addressed to Scala Archives at firenze@scalarchives.com. Motion picture film stills or motion picture footage from films in MoMA's Film Collection cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For licensing motion picture film footage it is advised to apply directly to the copyright holders. For access to motion picture film stills please contact the Film Study Center. More information is also available about the film collection and the Circulating Film and Video Library.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication or moma.org, please email text_permissions@moma.org. If you would like to publish text from MoMA's archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to archives@moma.org.

This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to digital@moma.org.