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10 projects by Toyo Ito

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He is like Jim Jarmusch in the cinema world, Messi in football and Bowie in music. Balancing between constructivism and postmodernism, he created a perfect crematorium, a library with 166 arches and almost a live tower that is sensitive to the wind.

Below are top 10 projects by a Japanese architect, Pritzker Prize laureate, Toyo Ito.


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Sendai Mediatheque, Japan (2001)

Seven floors cost the architect seven years.

On the outside, the building resembles a large glass aquarium, where instead of fish there are libraries, cinema, studio and exhibition space stand.

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Algae grow through the floors in the form of asymmetrical tube. Being very naughty, they change direction, increase and decrease in diameter.

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The shell of the double glass decorated with colored pixels, and after sunset it magically dissolves in the air. Bare algae pipes and platforms transformed into a giant cyber-installation.

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In 2011, thanks to its aseismic structure, the building survived а 7 point earthquake, proving that beauty and reliability can be the synonyms.


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Tama Art University Library in Tokyo, Japan (2007)

The building is a protest against a boring architecture. Author rethought the concept of a library and created a multifunctional space – a highway for students who will walk across the campus.

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This is the place to read, engage in discussions, relax or just have a cup of coffee.

The particular feature of the ground floor is that has no walls. 166 arches are built in a quadrilateral, allowing the natural scenery to live in the interior.

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Meiso no Mori Municipal Funeral Hall in Kakamigahara, Japan (2006)


The name Meiso no Mori means "forest for meditation" in Japanese. It is the essence of peace and calmness in architecture.


12 thin columns hold the reinforced concrete cover of the roof. Despite the weight of the structure, it goes up and down repeating the outlines of the surrounding hills.




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This structure is recognised as one of the most soulful projects of the XXI century.

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Mikimoto building in Ginza in Tokyo, Japan (2005)

Due to the chaos of geometrically irregular windows, the facade resembles a piece of Swiss cheese.


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Some windows are arranged in the corners taking the place of the main supporting pillars in a traditional construction. The material for the walls is a thin aluminum painted in white.


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Serpentine Gallery Pavilion in London, United Kingdom (2002)

Since 2000, the Serpentine Gallery of Modern Art has encouraged some of the world’s top architects to design а temporary pavilion in front of the main building.

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The spine of the Ito's building is the network of triangular and trapezoid forms, which were generated by an algorithm.

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Museum of Architecture in Imabari, Japan (2011)

A tandem of the architectural projects.

Steel Hut is a hybrid of the tetrahedron, octahedron, and other geometrical figures.


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A curved roof construction is called Silver Hut. It resembles a house that Ito built for himself in Nakano. The house in Nakano was awarded by the Architectural Institute of Japan.

The combination of transparent and perforated screens represents the intrinsic lightness of the Japanese architecture, but is subjective in interpretation.

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Tod's Building in Tokyo, Japan (2004)

Concrete pillars and glass form the skin of the slender building. It is an example of the architectural mimicry of trees. The closeness amazes in the colder months, when the bare branches of the elms are reflected in the building.

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White O House in Marbella, Chile (2009)

The ovals define the design concept of a private residence. They are built into the roof that leads to the garden inside the building, the pool and lawn.

It is an example of postmodernism with the dominant graphic originality and the simplicity of forms.



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Tower of Winds in Yokohama, Japan (1986)

It is more a techno-sculpture than a building. The 21-meter high cylindrical surface holds water tanks for an underground shopping centre.

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Steel panels convert the tower into a mirror of the city in a daytime. At night, it becomes an interactive screen, which is sensitive to wind and sounds. 1300 lamps, 12 neon rings and 30 lamps change colors and intensity of illumination depending on the strength of the wind and the noise level recorded by special indicators.

Toyo Ito argues that modern architecture with its desire to please the society works as a conveyor, churning out cities that look the same. Each of his projects proves that the architecture is primarily the art of extraordinary decisions.

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