Arata Isozaki spent much of his childhood in the shadow of World War II. As a native of the city of Oita, the Japanese architect grew up just across a slim body of water from Hiroshima, where the U.S. dropped the first atomic bomb — and he says he saw firsthand the ease with which proud human achievements could be leveled.
"It was in complete ruins, and there was no architecture, no buildings and not even a city. Only barracks and shelters surrounded me," Isozaki, now 87, recalls in a recorded statement. "So, my first experience of architecture was the void of architecture, and I began to consider how people might rebuild their homes and cities."