The 87-year-old, known for his floating cities and inflatable concert hall, wins architecture’s Nobel prize equivalent

He’s designed an inflatable concert hall, an underground sports arena and envisaged entire cities floating above the earth’s surface. Now, at 87 years of age, Arata Isozaki has been crowned the winner of the 2019 Pritzker architecture prize, an honour regarded as the Nobel prize of architecture.

Regarded as a visionary who helped foster an architectural dialogue between the east and west, Isozaki’s style has remained fluid for more than half a century of work. He first made waves with his futuristic 1962 City in the Air project, in which Tokyo’s Shinjuku district was reimagined with a new city suspended over the old one on tree-like structures. Though unrealised, the project was a taste of what was to come: among Isozaki’s best-known works are the red sandstone Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the twisting, metal Art Tower Mito in Ibaraki, Japan and the Palau Sant Jordi, a 17,000-person sports arena designed for the 1992 Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona, that sits partially below ground in order to draw focus to the surrounding hillside.

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