A 10-year project in the making, the gargantuan cultural beacon is made of biomorphically curved concrete walls that wind together like a knot of arteries, creating an otherworldly experience for arts patrons. It’s every bit the landmark project you’d expect from 2013’s Pritzker Prize Laureate, but its rapidly approaching completion triggered a vital question: Where to go from here?
Kengo Kuma (born 8th August, 1956) is one of the most significant Japanese figures in contemporary architecture. His reinterpretation of traditional Japanese architectural elements for the 21st century has involved serious innovation in uses of natural materials, new ways of thinking about light and lightness and architecture that enhances rather than dominates. His buildings don't attempt to fade into the surroundings through simple gestures, as some current Japanese work does, but instead his architecture attempts to manipulate traditional elements into statement-making architecture that still draws links with the area its built in. These high-tech remixes of traditional elements and influences have proved popular across Japan and beyond, and his recent works have begun expanding out of Japan to China and the West.
Nevertheless, a quiet period doesn't mean there weren't some great discussions had in the comments over the past two weeks, with opinions shared on the success of BIG, the problem of negativity in architecture, and more. Read on to find out what our readers had to say.
Global companies often exploit architectural icons to transform physical form into their desired brand reputations. To help achieve this goal, after twilight, the natural qualities of buildings have often been supplemented by architectural lighting, as the facades call unmistakeably for attention with their colorful and dynamic illumination. Representation has become the leading motivation for upgrading the lighting at headquarters and retail outlets. But when the illumination evolves into spectacular gestures, the brand identity and architecture itself starts to fade. Hence, the struggle for individuality has revived the discussion about ornament – though ornament appears now as light.
Japanese design has long had a defining impact on other cultures from all over the world; as early as the mid-nineteenth century, fashionable collectors in Europe exchanged artifacts from Japan, and Frank Lloyd Wright was famously influenced by their distinctive architecture after a trip to the country in 1905. In recent decades, Japan has been one of architecture's superpowers, producing seven Pritzker Prize laureates in under 30 years. And, while Japan's Pritzker winners are widely revered, they are far from the only players on the scene, with a new wave of young Japanese architects now emerging behind internationally acclaimed names such as Sou Fujimoto.
In this new series of interviews titled "Japan's New Masters," Ebrahim Abdoh speaks to both the established and emerging architects of Japan's dynamic architectural scene. The first interview of the series is with Yuko Nagayama, founder of Yuko Nagayama and Associates.