Boundaries Are a Social Phenomenon

architect Toyo Ito
interviewed by Maroje Mrduljaš 


The Japanese architectural scene is clearly marked by generational sequences and transfer of knowledge. Toyo Ito holds a special place in this sequence as he continued the activities of post-war modernists, participated in the formation of specific intellectual tendencies of Japanese architecture in the 1970s and 1980s, and developed his own method which has left a remarkable impact on the leading protagonists of the younger Japanese generation. At the very beginning of his career Ito left the tectonics of concrete and examined lightness and transparency, disclaiming all monumentality and prominently moving towards conceptual thinking that was not based on broad and idealistic visions. He was among the first international architects to reflect deeply on the transforming metropolis in the late 20th century in the context of the dominance of visual domains, new lifestyles and the influence of the then economic expansion on the built environment. Ito remains the leader in research trends in Japanese architecture today and is devoted to complex three-dimensional spatial configurations and an entirely new conception of the relation of ‘internal’ and ‘external’ as his permanent themes. Ito is the winner of the 2013 Pritzker Prize.