Toshiko Mori AR'76 to Receive 2021 Isamu Noguchi Award 

POSTED ON: August 27, 2021


The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture is pleased to announce that Toshiko Mori AR’76 will receive the prestigious 2021 Isamu Noguchi Award, conferred annually by the Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum. Mori, as well as the ceramics artist Shio Kusaka, will receive the award at the Museum’s annual benefit celebration on Tuesday, October 5, 2021. 

Now in its eighth year, the Isamu Noguchi Award is conferred annually on highly accomplished individuals who share Noguchi’s spirit of innovation, global consciousness, and commitment to Eastern and Western cultural exchange. Brett Littman, the museum’s director, notes “The Isamu Noguchi Award was created to recognize exceptional individuals whose creative practice shares a thoughtfulness and boundary-transcending point of view found in Isamu Noguchi’s work and extends his ideals into our own times. We are honored to present this year’s Award to artist Shio Kusaka and architect Toshiko Mori. Their very different work shares a profound sensitivity to nature, playful and clear-minded approaches to materials and function, and quiet reflectiveness, carrying forward and extending Noguchi’s principles.” 

Born in Kobe, Japan, in 1951, Toshiko Mori, FAIA, is the founding principal of Toshiko Mori Architect PLLC, and the Robert P. Hubbard Professor in the Practice of Architecture at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD). Through nearly four decades of influential projects her practice has emphasized a sensitivity to ecology and history, innovative and intelligent use of materials and light, and functionality in the most expansive sense.  

The Award is presented in recognition of her diverse body of work—from early work designing for clients such as Commes des Garçons and Issey Miyake, to exhibition designs for the Museum of Modern Art and Cooper Hewitt, to numerous residential, cultural, and civic projects around the globe. Her integration of the surrounding environment in her designs, her thoughtful sensitivity in selecting materials, and her advocacy and activism for sustainability in architecture reflect values that she shares with Noguchi, with whom she interned while studying architecture at The Cooper Union. 

The quintessential sculptor in an expanded field, Isamu Noguchi (1904–1988) was a future-focused idealist whose timeless work blended the ancient and the modern; formalism and conceptualism; art, architecture, and design. His multidisciplinarity and ability to bridge many of the supposedly irreconcilable contradictions at the heart of contemporary life remain an inspiration for a wide range of creative people. Using everything he learned designing playgrounds, dance sets, and gardens, he remade sculpture into a discipline for understanding our place in the universe, a technology for transcending limited thinking, and a technique for integrating the best habits and effects of craft into daily life. 

Previous recipients of the Isamu Noguchi Award include: Lord Norman Foster and Hiroshi Sugimoto (2014); Jasper Morrison and Yoshio Taniguchi (2015); Tadao Ando and Elyn Zimmerman (2016); John Pawson and Hiroshi Senju (2017); Naoto Fukasawa and Edwina von Gal (2018); Rei Kawakubo (2019); and Sir David Adjaye OBE and Cai Guo-Qiang (2020). 

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