"A professional of unique talent, he is dedicated to the process of discovery that comes from seeing the opportunities that lie in each commission and each site."
Palumbo said Ito had been creating "outstanding architecture" for more than 40 years, including libraries, houses, parks, theaters, shops, office buildings and pavilions.
Ito, 71, is the sixth Japanese architect to earn the prestigious prize. He will receive a $100,000 grant and a bronze medallion at the formal awards ceremony in Boston, Massachusetts on May 29.
A 1965 graduate of Tokyo University's Department of Architecture, Ito began his career with the firm of Kiyonori Kikutake & Associates.
In 1971, he founded his own studio in Tokyo under the name Urban Robot (Urbot). In 1979, the firm was renamed Toyo Ito & Associates, Architects.
He has received numerous international awards, including the Royal Gold Medal from the Royal Institute of British Architects in 2006.
In a statement of gratitude for the award, Ito said he will never be completely satisfied with his work.
"However, when one building is completed, I become painfully aware of my own inadequacy, and it turns into energy to challenge the next project," he said.