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 in which it's built. 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.
Kengo Kuma uses materials to connect with the local context and the users of his projects. The textures and elementary forms of constructive systems, materials, and products, are exhibited and used in favor of the architectural concept, giving value to the functions that will be carried out in each building.
From showcases made with ceramic tiles to the sifted light created by expanded metal panels, passing through an ethereal polyester coating, Kuma understands the material as an essential component that can make a difference in architecture from the design stages. Next, we present 21 projects where Kengo Kuma masterfully uses construction materials.
As mentioned in our previous article on retail stores under 100 square meters, the spatial distribution of commercial spaces is a determinant for its success. Not only does it address adequate logistics and the circulation of customers, but the variations and innovations that will enable a more efficient and original space.
Below, we've selected projects from our site, with their plan and section, that can help inspire your next project.
With the aim of supporting architects to become active agents of sustainable design, this week we present a selection of facades that incorporate different recycled materials. Beyond the typical uses of plastic and glass, in this article, you will find innovative materials such as mattress springs, ice cream containers, plastic chairs, and recycled waste from agricultural and industrial products. A look at 16 remarkable projects using recycled materials to create an attractive facade.
In China's newly emerging constellation of famed architects, few firms elicit the sense of surprise caused by the work of Atelier Deshaus. With projects ranging from awe-inspiring to humble, their work does not adhere to any stylistic rules, but all of their projects exude an enigmatic aura. In this interview, the latest in Vladimir Belogolovsky’s “City of Ideas” series, principals Liu Yichun and Chen Yifeng discuss the role of identity in their work and how they try to connect their buildings to the landscape.
Vladimir Belogolovsky: Is it true that you each design different projects in the studio? Why is that?
Liu Yichun: This has been true since 2010. Before that we always designed everything together. We used to have endless discussions and too many disagreements and arguments. That’s why we decided to pursue two parallel paths. This approach led to greater efficiency and it helped us to formulate clearer ideas of our independent views of architecture. It also helps us to diversify our work and to avoid forming one recognizable style.
Chen Yifeng: It is important for us to express our solutions differently, even though, fundamentally, we are working in one direction and pursuing one family of ideas.
Designing a museum is always an exciting architectural challenge. Museums often come with their own unique needs and constraints--from the art museum that needs specialist spaces for preserving works, to the huge collection that requires extensive archive space, and even the respected institution whose existing heritage building presents a challenge for any new extension. In honor of International Museum Day, we’ve selected 23 stand-out museums from our database, with each ArchDaily editor explaining what makes these buildings some of the best examples of museum architecture out there.
From the use of animal skins to create the envelope of a tent, to building structures from bones, and using dried mud for masonry, humans have long turned to the earth for inspiration and to provide us with the materials to build.
For ArchDaily’s second Project of the Month we want to highlight the versatile ways that architects can embrace ancient traditions. Kengo Kuma’s China Academy of Arts’ Folk Art Museum combines traditional techniques with recycled materials to create a subtle yet powerful structure.