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blogs

May 27, 2016

5 Game Changing Japanese Architects You Should Know About

People in architecture and design

They are visionaries, they were beyond their time. They were game changers who put Japan on the world map of Architecture. Read on to know more 

Kenzo Tange

Kenzo Tange is hands down the most important architect from 20th century Japan. He drew closely from Japanese architectural styles and fused it with modernism. He was also an influential artist of the Metabolist movement. Highly influenced by Le Corbusier, he came under international limelight after winning the competition for the design of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. Some other prominent works include the Tokyo Olympics arenas, Osaka Exposition, The Ise Shrine etc. It was for the design of the Tokyo Olympics Arenas that he won the Pritzker prize. His citation honored his work and titled it amongst the most beautiful buildings from the 20th century. When he passed away in 2005, he left behind a legacy that every architect will agree is the best memory of his work and life - his work standing in all five continents inhabited by man.

Fumihiko Maki  

Fumihiko Maki has been both the champion of fusion works of design and innovation in materials used in them After studying from the University of Tokyo he moved to Cranbrook Academy of Art. He finally went on to Harvard where he completed his Masters in Architecture. With a stong academic background (he was also a professor), it came as no surprise when he was selected to design the London campus of the Aga Khan University. Some other prominent works include Tokyo Metropolitan Gym, TV Asahi, MIT media lab etc. In 1993 he won the Pritzker prize. He is also the recipient of the AIA Gold medal, Wolf Prize in Arts and International Union of Architects Gold Medal.

Toyo Ito

Toyo Ito has been a stalwart in the field of conceptual architecture. From Serpentine Gallery (UK) to TOD's Omotesando Building (Japan) or Taoyuan International Airport (Taiwan), his work has work has experimented with the boundaries of the physical and virtual world. No two works of his resemble each other, making him one of the most unique architects of our time. He was a likely front runner for the Pritzker Prize for about 10 years, until he actually won it in 2013. Archh recently included Ito in yet another interesting list (find out what we are talking about here)

Tadao Ando

How often do we hear the phrase 'self taught architect'? Unlike many field it is believed that architecture require a certain level of formal training and isn't just something you can learn 'on the job'. Tadao Ando proves such claims wrong. Japanese religion and way of life strongly influenced Ando. Many say his style has a haiku effect, 'emphasizing nothingness and empty space to represent the beauty of simplicity.'It is this aesthetic that he took to various parts of Japan and beyond. Some of his famous works include Tokyo Skytree, Lange Foundation building, Akita Museum of Art etc. He has been the recipient of every major award, Pritzker Architecture Prize to the Royal Gold Medal. Read an in-depth interview with Tadao Ando here

Kazuyo Sejima

Kazuyo Sejima is a pioneer in so many ways. The gender ratio within the field of architecture has been a topic of great debate. Sejima in that sense isn't just a prominent Japanese architect but also one of the few female architects in the world to achieve as much as she has. In face she was the first woman to win a Pritzker Prize. She is the founding member of the firm SANAA (Sejima and Nishizawa and Associates). Her firm's prominent work include the Louvre Lens (France), New Museum (New York), Theater and Artscentre at Netherlands etc.

Speaking of influential Japanese Architects, there is one man who took the idea of social change through architecture to another level which has now brought him great recognition. The only reason we haven’t included him on this list is because Archh has dedicated an entire article to him. If you don’t know who we are talking about, find out here