The long, intense and prolific life of Arata Isozaki ended last 29th December. In passing away he rekindled, as if by a stubborn desire not to disappear, intense memories and debates. First and foremost, his project for the cradle of the Italian Renaissance: Florence and the Uffizi loggia.
Arata Isozaki was born in 1931 in Ōita on the Japanese island of Kyūshū, deeply scarred at a very young age by the dramas of the Second World War in his homeland. ‘When I was old enough to begin to understand the world, my hometown was burnt down. On the other side of the coast, the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima (…). Only shacks and shelters surrounded me. So, my first experience with architecture was the absence of architecture and I started to consider how people could rebuild their homes and cities’.
Isozaki has never left that homeland, even though with his work he has reached every latitude, conquering, through open thinking sensitive to the discovery of otherness, a role as a bridge between Japan and the rest of the world. More than a hundred architectures were realised during his long career, characterising the architectural cityscape of the world’s largest metropolises: from Shanghai to Madrid, from Doha to Miami.
There have also been numerous international prizes and awards over the years: from the RIBA Gold Medal received in 1986 to the latest, very important, Pritzker Prize in 2019.