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In accepting the prize, Ito said he was determined to “never fix my architectural style and never be satisfied with my works.” Completing a work, Ito said, makes him “painfully aware of my own inadequacy, and it turns into energy to challenge the next project.”

Ito began his career at Kiyonori Kikutake & Associates after he was graduated from Tokyo University in 1965. He founded his own firm in 1971. His works have been exhibited in museums in the United States, England, Denmark, Italy, Chile and numerous cities in Japan.

He will receive a $100,000 grant and a bronze medallion at the formal Pritzker ceremony May 29 at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston.

Sponsored by the Hyatt Foundation, the Pritzker Prize was established in 1979 by the late entrepreneur Jay A. Pritzker and his wife, Cindy, to honor “a living architect whose built work demonstrates a combination of those qualities of talent, vision and commitment, which has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture.”

The Pritzker family founded the prize because of its involvement with developing Hyatt Hotel properties around the world and because architecture was not included in the Nobel Prizes. The Pritzker selection process is modeled after the Nobels.


AP Entertainment Writer Derrik J. Lang contributed to this report.