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.
New images from HOUSE VISION Tokyo 2016 have been released as the event opened to the public this past weekend. This year’s theme, “Co-Dividual: Split and Connect / Separate and Come Together,” explores how architecture can create new connections between individuals, and the ways Japanese housing can adapt to cultural shifts through the implementation of technology.
This year’s exhibition features house designs by top Japanese architects including Sou Fujimoto, Kengo Kuma, Shigeru Ban and Atelier Bow-Wow, each paired with a leading company to envision and implement new strategies in housing design.
Continue after the break to see images from the event and the pavilions.
Following the success of the inaugural HOUSE VISION Tokyo in 2013, the exhibition is set to return again this summer under the theme of “Co-Dividual: Split and Connect / Separate and Come Together.” Once again curated by Kenya Hara, designer and creative director for minimalist housewares retailer Muji, the month-long event will tackle the objective of “thinking about how to create new connections between individuals,” as well as build upon the topics explored by its previous edition, namely the ways in which Japanese housing can adapt to recent demographic, technological and cultural shifts, and the vision of the house as the intersection between industries.
This year’s exhibition will feature house designs by top Japanese architects such as Sou Fujimoto, Kengo Kuma, Shigeru Ban and Atelier Bow-Wow, each paired with a leading company to envision and implement new strategies in housing design. The houses will be constructed at full-scale, allowing event-goers to fully experience and reflect upon each design.
Kengo Kuma & Associates, in a team with Cornelius+Vöge and landscape architects MASU planning, have revealed plans for the Hans Christian Andersen Museum in Odense, Denmark. Channeling the otherworldliness of Andersen’s fairy tales, the 5,600 square meter building is two-thirds below grade, leaving ground level space for “enchanted” gardens of large trees, lawns, box hedges, and tall shrubs. The museum building is an ambling collection of cylindrical volumes, with glass and lattice timber facades beneath scooped green roofs, all surrounding a sunken courtyard space. The project will replace an existing museum that is largely focused on the author’s personal life with one that is more centered on his stories.
Kengo Kuma and Associates has revealed plans for the office’s first North American skyscraper, a mixed-use luxury tower on a site adjacent to Stanley Park in Vancouver. Known as ‘Alberni by Kuma,’ the 43-story tower combines 181 residences with retail space and a restaurant in a rectilinear volume accented by "scoops" on two sides. These curvatures are the building’s most important formal attribute, while a moss garden at the tower's base is its most important spatial feature. The project is being organized by Westbank and Peterson, and is part of a group of architecturally significant projects being developed by the pair in the west coast city.
Japan-based Komatsu Seiten Fabric Laboratory has created a new thermoplastic carbon fiber composite called CABKOMA Strand Rod. The Strand Rod is a carbon fiber composite which is covered in both synthetic and inorganic fibers and finished with a thermoplastic resin. The material has been used on the exterior of Komatsu Seiten’s head office.
Darling Harbour has commissioned Kengo Kuma to design a new civic and creative center in Sydney - the Japanese practice's first Australian project. The 30-meter-tall, wood-clad "Darling Exchange" will rise six stories and provide space for a ground-floor market hall, library, childcare center, makerspace, and additional program for start-ups, as well as a rooftop bar and restaurant.
“Our aim is to achieve architecture that is an open and tangible as possible to the community, and this is reflected in the circular geometry that creates a building that is accessible and recognizable from multiple directions,” said Kuma.
In the latest Tokyo National Stadium news, Kengo Kuma is firing back to Zaha Hadid's allegations regarding the "similarities" of the two designs by insisting that his "concept is completely different." As reported the Architects' Journal, the Japanese architect agrees there are some natural similarities due to appropriate sightlines and regulations, however the actual design and concept are radically different.
"I believe that the design by Zaha Hadid was excellent, with a unique shape and demonstration of her philosophy," said Kuma in a press conference. "When we consider the design is being created within the same land, using the same tracks and under the same laws it is natural and almost automatic that there are some similarities which will arise."
"And despite the technical details being similar, the concepts and designs are completely different," he added, referring to Hadid's "saddle-style" design and his flat-roofed proposal.
Check out this beautifully crafted 13-piece block set designed by Kengo Kuma - the (legendary) Japanese architect recently tapped to design Tokyo's controversial National Stadium. Light, wooden and soft to the touch, each four by four inch component is made of cedar from Japan's Miyazaki Prefecture and notched at the tips for easy stacking. You can order your own set for $70.
Kengo Kuma & Associates have been selected to replace Zaha Hadid Architects to design the new Tokyo National Stadium, the central venue for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Kuma's design was revealed alongside one other, a design by Toyo Ito, last week, after the original design by Zaha Hadid Architects was scrapped earlier this year. As reported by The Japan Times, Kuma's design narrowly won out against Ito's based on nine selection criteria by the Japan Sport Council, being awarded 610 total points compared to Ito's 602. Responding to concerns about the size and cost of Hadid's design, the new design will be under 50 meters tall and cost an estimated ¥153 billion, compared with the 70 meters and ¥252 billion of Hadid's controversial plans.
Kengo Kuma & Associates has unveiled its latest project for the Galerie Philippe Gravier in Paris. Entitled Yure, a Japanese expression for a nomadic habitat moving in the wind, the project is made from identical wooden pieces, seeking to blur the lines between art and architecture with its organic structural geometry.
Zaha Hadid, Kengo Kuma, Daniel Libeskind, Nieto Sobejano, Denise Scott Brown and Philip Treacy reveal the childhood recollections that have shaped their outstanding visions and work.
Architects and designers are often asked whose work inspired them as students and influenced their thinking, but Roca London Gallery’s autumn show suggests that design inspiration actually goes back much further than this, into early childhood, and can take some unexpected forms.
When Kengo Kuma's concept for the new Victoria and Albert Museum of Design (V&A) in Dundee, Scotland, was unanimously chosen as the winning design in late 2012, the jurors had stated that the proposal has been "subject to exhaustive scrutiny, including having external assessors do a detailed examination of projected costs." They stated that they "did not have to exclude any of the submissions on grounds of affordability." It is now reported, a little over two years later, that the original £45million budget has now exceeded £80million in spite of the fact that the building has already been 'redesigned' once in order to try to reign in soaring costs.
The latest obstacle in a tumultuous project history, figures released by Dundee City Council predict that Kengo Kuma and Associates' V&A museum in Dundee will cost an extra £31 million. Since unanimous selection by a competition jury in 2010, the project has been plagued by budget concerns, prompting a relocation from the original waterfront on the River Tay to a site further inland in 2012. Described by the V&A as "much more than just a building," Kuma's V&A Dundee is now slated to welcome the public in 2018, three years later than originally planned. Learn more about the delays after the break.
Five practices have been selected to move on to the second stage of the Sydney Modern Project, a $450 million expansion of the Art Gallery of New South Wales (NSW). Of the twelve firms invited to participate in the competition, the five that will advance are: Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa / SANAA; Kengo Kuma & Associates; Kerry Hill Architects; RMA Architects (Rahul Mehrotra Architects); and Sean Godsell Architects.
What influence do art and space have on the contemporary architectural design process? MoMA's most recent exhibition on architecture and design Conceptions of Space strives to answer this question. Themed under the umbrella of spatial relations, Curator Pedro Gadanho ruminates on the subject in a broad and philosophical sense. The exhibition delves into the topic using an interdisciplinary approach, incorporating research from French philosopher Michel Foucault on the subject of the expanded field. The exhibition aims to explore the relationship between the development of space and its deep-seated roots in the creative arts.
In Kengo Kuma’s work you may see influences of light, transparency and materiality. But when visiting the Woodbury School of Architecture in San Diego, Kengo Kuma shared a few of his not so apparent influences, from Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Kahn to jazz music. Make sure to view “Knowing Kuma” to see the architect’s definition of architecture, materials and more.