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Toyo Ito wins Praemium Imperiale

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Toyo Ito been announced as the winner of the prestigious Japan Art Association’s award for Architecture

The Praemium Imperiale Laureate, worth £115,000, is the richest awards in the architecture industry and hailed as the cultural ‘Nobel Prize’.

Ito, who designed the Serpentine Pavilion in 2002 but has yet to build a permanent building in the UK, follows a long line of international architects who have been awarded the prize including Zaha Hadid (2009) and Peter Zumthor (2008).

Toyo Ito's Serpentine Pavillion 2002

Toyo Ito’s Serpentine Pavillion 2002

Born in Seoul, South Korea to Japanese parents, the 69-year-old architect is joined on this year’s list laureates by Sophie Loren, who won the theatre/film category and Enrico Castellani who has handed the gong for his painting.

The laureates will pick up their awards at a ceremony in Tokyo on 13 October.


Last year British based talent received the lion’s share of these prestigious awards, with Richard Long, Zaha Hadid, Alfred Brendel and Tom Stoppard scooping four of the five awards. Previous British and UK-based laureates are David Hockney, James Stirling, Anthony Caro,
Andrew Lloyd Webber, Richard Attenborough, John Gielgud, Peter Brook, Richard Rogers, Tony Cragg, Norman Foster, Bridget Riley, Richard Hamilton, Richard Long, Alfred Brendel and Tom Stoppard.

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