Japanese Architect Toyo Ito Wins 2017 International Union Of Architects Gold Medal

Mido also presents him with a one-of-a-kind timepiece.

BY Eugene Phua | Sep 11, 2017 | News

Toyo Ito is an internationally acclaimed architect, one who is at the forefront of “conceptual architecture”, which seeks to express the physical and the virtual world at the same time. In 1971, he founded the Urban Robot (Urbot) agency (which is now known as Toyo Ito & Associates, Architects), and has gone on to design some of the most famous buildings in the world – the Japanese Pavilion at the Universal Exhibition in Hannover (in the year 2000); London’s Serpentine Gallery Pavilion (2002); and Taiwan’s National Taichung Theatre (also 2002). Some of his notable awards in his illustrious career include the Golden Lion in Venice in 2002; the Royal Gold Medal in the UK in 2006; and the Pritzker Prize in the US in 2013. 

Just recently, at the 26th World Congress of the International Union of Architects (UIA) in Seoul, Ito was awarded this year’s Gold Medal – the highest prize any architect on the planet will receive because it is an award given by his or her peers, and without any outside interests. The 76-year-old was honoured for his contributions to architectural art, society and, of course, people everywhere. 

As one of the partners of the UIA, Mido presented Ito with a unique 18-karat Baroncelli timepiece, which is equipped with a COSC-certified chronometer movement. Franz Linder, CEO of the Swiss watchmaking brand, was on hand to personally present Ito with his watch, which has Ito’s name inscribed on the case back. 

This year, Mido and UIA have also come together to create a new award specifically for architecture students: the UNESCO-UIA & MIDO Student Design Prize for Responsible Architecture. This prize honours architectural projects that have humanist and ecological goals, and is open to students from UNESCO-UIA-certified schools. 

Heba El Sawy from Egypt and Alba Alsina Maqueda from Spain are the joint winners this year, after an international jury awarded Sawy’s project “Anthro-Architecture: the Mountains of Mansheyat-Nasser” and Maqueda’s project “Edges, Satellites, Stations”. To celebrate their achievements, Mido presented Sawy and Maqueda each with a personalised Baroncelli Heritage timepiece, as well as a cash prize.