Toyo Ito

1 minute read
Ben Goldberger


In his four-decade career, Toyo Ito, 71, has stubbornly resisted aesthetic dogma, embracing whatever forms and materials that best served his goal of reconciling the public and the private, the individual and the communal. And unlike so many architects who preen over their finished work, the Japanese architect says completing a building only makes him “painfully aware of my own inadequacy.” “Therefore,” Ito said after receiving his profession’s highest honor, “I will never fix my architectural style and never be satisfied with my works.” But at least one building does satisfy him: the Sendai Mediatheque, a glass-walled public library supported by a visible latticework of steel tubes, inspired by the idea of floating seaweed. Fragile at first glance, the structure withstood Japan’s devastating 2011 earthquake. Recalling its 2001 opening, Ito said, “That was the time I really felt I was glad to have become an architect.”

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at