Toyo Ito was born in 1941. He graduated in architecture from Tokyo University in 1965. In 1965-69 he worked for the firm run by Kiyonori Kikutake, a member of the Metabolism group. In 1971 he opened his own practice in Tokyo, called, until 1979, Urban Robot (urbot) and subsequently Toyo Ito & Associates, Architects. An Honorary Professor of the University of North London, he has taught at Columbia University in New York (1991-92 and 1994-95), at the Berlage Institute in Amsterdam (1992) and at Harvard University (1994-95 and 1995-96).
His work has been shown at numerous personal and collective exhibitions and he has participated in various major international competitions, including those for the Maison de la Culture du Japon in Paris (1990), for the Library of the University of Paris (1992), the extension to the Museum of Modern Art in New York (1997) and the Centro per le Arti Contemporanee in Rome (1999).
Awards won include: the prize of the Institute of Japanese Architecture for the Silver Hut (1986); the City of Kumamoto Award for the Yatsushiro Museum (1991) and the Yatsushiro Fire Station (1996); the Interarch Award (1997) and the Gold Medal of the Union of Architects of Bulgaria (1997); the Arnold W. Brunner Award presented by the American Academy of Fine Arts (2000); the World Architecture Award East Asia for the Sendai Mediathèque (2002). Major recent works include: the Health Future installation at the Expo 2000 in Hanover; the Sendai Mediathèque (1997-2001); an aluminium pavilion in Bruges, Belgium (2000-02). Projects now under way include: the Cognacq-Jay Hospital in Paris; the M-Hall at Matsumoto, Nagano; the Mahler 4 office tower in Amsterdam.