Toyo Ito in Conversation

Toyo Ito

Toyo Ito

As part of the 50th Anniversary celebration of the Center for Japanese Studies, famed Japanese architect Toyo Ito will participate in a conversation with Professor Dana Buntrock of the Department of Architecture. The conversation, which is free and open to the public, will take place on Saturday, April 11, 2009, at 7:00 p.m. in Wheeler Auditorium on the Berkeley campus.

In September 2006, the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive at the University of California, Berkeley announced that Japanese architect Toyo Ito had been selected to design a new facility for the world-renowned art museum and film center. While honoring the University and community's collective influence in art and film, his plans for the new museum will provide a visual arts gateway capable of absorbing the intellectual, cultural, and seismic shifts that the twenty-first century will undoubtedly bring to Berkeley.

Japan is one of the few countries in the world today with the ability to foster a culture of the highest quality, contemporary architecture and a futuristic urbanism. Toyo Ito is part of a new generation of modern Japanese architects who are creating magical and imaginative, innovatively engineered buildings that profoundly influence the way people view urban communities and the space that we live and play in. Among this cadre of international, up-and-coming Japanese architects are Yoshio Taniguchi (Museum of Modern Art, New York), Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa (New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York) and Arata Isozaki (Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles). Each brings a Japanese aesthetic to their work, drawing on certain carpentry and architectural traditions, while utilizing the latest technologies to shape the future of architecture.


The building, set to open in 2013, will be situated on a half-block site bordered by Oxford, Addison, and Center Street, where the museum will be rejoined with its sister institution, the Pacific Film Archive. BAM/PFA's new building will also be Ito's first work in North America, which brings its own challenges in regards to environmental impact, regulations and codes, as well as the Berkeley cultural and intellectual aesthetic. (For information on the building project, visit

Toyo Ito's best-known projects are the Sendai Médiathèque, Miyagi, Japan (2001); TOD'S Omotesando Building, Tokyo, Japan (2004); the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, London, England; (and the Taichung Metropolitan Opera House, Taiwan, Republic of China (under construction).

In this special event, Toyo Ito will engage the audience with his observations on Japanese architecture today and explore the implications of his own most innovative works. Tickets will be available on a first-come-first-served basis at the Wheeler Auditorium box office at UC Berkeley, starting at 6 p.m.; doors open at 6:30.

Cosponsored by the Center for Japanese Studies, the Department of Architecture, and the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive.

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