NEW YORK (Reuters) - Japanese architect Toyo Ito has been awarded the 2013 Pritzker Architecture Prize, one of field's most prestigious awards, for his conceptually creative designs and "timeless" buildings, the prize committee jury said on Sunday.
The Pritzker Architecture Prize, which was created by the late Jay A. Pritzker and his wife, Cindy, in 1979 to honor the world's most innovative architects, includes a $100,000 award and a medallion.
Ito's early career was marked by small, imaginative projects like 1976's "White U," a U-shaped home designed for his widowed sister, who had grown tired of Tokyo's towering high rise apartment buildings.
The house contained two long corridors - leading to his sister's bedroom on one side and her daughters' bedroom on the other. It combined sleek functionality with designs that optimized natural light and symbolized a return to life nearer to the earth.
In 1995, Ito designed the Sendai Mediatheque library, a cube-shaped structure whose floors are suspended on steel pipes that Ito calls "tubes." Construction was completed in 2001. The Pritzker jury cited the library design in awarding Ito this year's prize, saying the "fluid" concept is not "confined by...the limitations of modern architecture."
Ito, 71, has said his work seeks to "erase conventional meaning...through minimalist tactics" including architecture that "resembles air and wind," according to the prize committee.
Ito is the sixth Japanese architect to be awarded the prize.
Reporting by Chris Francescani; Editing by Cynthia Osterman