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Arata Isozaki, designer of Bond's iconic Arch, passes away

Arata Isozaki
Arata Isozaki, left, with fellow architects Daryl Jackson and Robin Gibson on  the site of Bond University in 1987.

Arata Isozaki, the Pritzker Prize-winning architect who designed Bond University’s landmark Arch, has died. He was 91.

A towering figure in world architecture whose visionary designs dot the globe, Mr Isozaki was brought in to assist with the planning of the campus in 1987 by university co-founder and fellow Japanese Harunori Takahashi.

Mr Isozaki would go on to pen the Arch, the Faculty of Society and Design and Library buildings, basing his ideas on Constantine's Triumphal Arch in Rome built in 315 AD between the Colosseum and the Palatine Hill.

Constantine's Arch
The Arch of Constantine in Rome, Mr Isozaki's inspiration for Bond's Arch. 

Mr Isozaki also designed the Qatar National Convention Centre, Nara Centennial Hall in Japan and the Shanghai Symphony Hall in China, among more than 100 major projects.

He mixed sometimes brutalist designs with whimsy. He built a golf clubhouse in Japan in the shape of a question mark because he could not fathom his countrymen’s obsession with golf, and designed giant Mickey Mouse ears at the headquarters of Disney in Orlando.

Arch model
An original model of the building.

In 2019 he received architecture’s highest honour, the Pritzker Prize.

The Pritzker jury said Mr Isozaki pioneered the “understanding that the need for architecture is both global and local”.

"Possessing a profound knowledge of architectural history and theory, and embracing the avant-garde, he never merely replicated the status quo," the jury said.

The Arch under construction.

Mr Isozaki had said growing up near Hiroshima, which was destroyed by an atomic bomb in 1945, taught him how homes and cities could be rebuilt.

"It was in complete ruins and there was no architecture, no buildings and not even a city," he said.

The Arch as it is today.

"Only barracks and shelters surrounded me. So my first experience of architecture was the void of architecture, and I began to consider how people might rebuild their homes and cities."

The master plan for Bond University was prepared by Daryl Jackson, a Melbourne-based Royal Australian Institute of Architects' Gold Medal winner. Robin Gibson, considered one of Queensland's finest architects, also contributed to the designs.

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