While we wait for summer 2020 and another chance to watch the medal counts climb and cheer on our home countries in the next Olympics, a different type of international contest has tallied its scores and the United States has taken the gold in the World Design Rankings, with China and Japan following for second and third place respectively. Sponsored by the international A’ Design Award and Competition, the world’s largest and most diverse design accolade, the World Design Rankings are compiled based on the number of designers from each country granted an A’ Design Award.
Japan has long been one of the centers of production when it comes to avant-garde architecture, stretching back to the middle of the 20th century with Modernist masters such as Kenzo Tange. As one of Japan's new, emerging architectural leaders Shuhei Endo – the founder of architecture firm Paramodern – believes the country is still well positioned at the forefront of architecture, creating new responses to the concept of modernity itself. In the second interview from our series covering “Japan's New Masters,” Ebrahim Abdoh speaks to Endo about what it means to be “Modern” in the modern world, and how these ideas have influenced his architecture.
Ebrahim Abdoh: What is your earliest memory of wanting to be an architect?
Shuhei Endo: When I was a child at elementary school, one day, the teacher took our class to an architecture exhibit in Osaka. The year was 1962. I remember seeing all the drawings, and models of these strange buildings. It was that day that I heard the words "architect" and "architecture" for the first time. Many years later, I applied to university to study architecture and got in. I always wanted to see the world. In my first few years of university, I went on a trip all over Europe. If that little exhibit I went to in Osaka was my baptism, then Rome was my confirmation. When I walked into the Pantheon… that is when I knew that I had made the right choice.