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Kengo Kuma & Associates

kengo-kuma_portrait.jpgKengo Kuma. Image courtesy Kengo Kuma & Associates

By Lise Laurberg

Kengo Kuma & Associates work with elements of Japanese tradition to create human friendly architecture for the 21st century. Kengo Kuma is a productive writer on the topic, feeding the debate on how to shape our buildings and cities.

Kengo Kuma (b. 1954) established his office Kengo Kuma and Associates in 1990 and has since played a prominent role in shaping the architecture debate. In 2008, a European branch of his office opened in France. Kengo Kuma & Associates have built a wide range of buildings reinterpreting traditional Japanese architecture for the 21st century, such as the Suntory Museum of Art and Même Experimental House, and Kengo Kuma's work is never a question of style.

He strives to create an architecture fit for humans, working within smaller scales, tactile and 'honest' materials, daylight and respect for nature, following his expressed goal to 'escape the clutches of concrete'. The architecture of Kengo Kuma and Associates is strongly connected to Kuma's theoretical work as a professor at the University of Tokyo where he runs the research center Kuma Lab, oriented toward many aspects of architecture, urbanity and design.

Kengo Kuma is the author of numerous books and articles discussing and criticizing approaches in contemporary architecture, such as the short manifesto Anti-Object: The Dissolution and Disintegration of Architecture from 2008, in which Kuma calls for an architecture of relations, respecting its surroundings instead of dominating them.

Kengo Kuma has received a number of Japanese awards for his work, counting the Architectural Institute of Japan Award in 1997 and the Mainichi Art Award in 2010, and  several international awards such as the Spirit of Nature Wood Architecture Award in 2002 and the Bois Magazine International Wood Architecture Award in 2008.

Visit Kengo Kuma & Associates here.

Même Experimental House by Kengo Kuma & Associates in Hokkaido, Japan. Photo courtesy Kengo Kuma & Associates
January 21, 2013 /

Même Experimental House
Kengo Kuma & Associates
Hokkaido, Japan

Located on the 185,000 m2 site of a former ranch in Taikicho, Hokkaido, Même Meadows is a unique research facility for studying design responses to the region’s harsh climate.

Image courtesy Kengo Kuma and V&A at Dundee
Kengo Kuma - V&A at Dundee - Rendering
June 13, 2011 /

V&A at Dundee
Kengo Kuma & Associates
Dundee, Scotland

The city of Dundee has always had a very close relation with the Tay river, and thus with its waterfront. The historical evolution of Dundee's harbor has developed in parallel with the city's economical and social changes, continuously changing the relation of the city with the river and the perception of it.

The Opposite House by Kengo Kuma & Associates in Beijing, China.
Photo © Michael Weber
March 15, 2010 /

The Opposite House
Kengo Kuma & Associates
Beijing, China

The Opposite House is situated within the large commercial development along the Sanlitun Street in the center of Beijing. The name refers to the guest house which sits on the opposite side of a traditional Chinese courtyard house. It is also a name that suggests a place of contrast.

Hoshakuji Station by Kengo Kuma & Associates in Takanezawa, Japan. Photo courtesy Kengo Kuma & Associates
August 03, 2009 /

Hoshakuji Station
Kengo Kuma & Associates
Takanezawa, Japan

Hoshakuji Station is located in Takanezawa, in the Tochigi Prefecture, 80 miles north of Tokyo. To connect the east and west sides of the town of Takanezawa, which had been divided by the railroad, Kuma opened the east exit of the station giving access to Chokkura Plaza and Shelter, also designed by Kuma, on the eastern side.

Shiseikan by Kengo Kuma & Associates in Kyoto, Japan. Photo courtesy Kengo Kuma & Associates
March 23, 2009 /

Shiseikan
Kengo Kuma & Associates
Kyoto, Japan

"Our principle for the design of art schools was that the architecture must lift up the students' spirits. Nowadays, we see lots of dry, dispiriting school buildings perhaps because there were requests for the buildings that are easy for maintenance."

Suntory Museum of Art by Kengo Kuma & Associates in Tokyo, Japan. Photo: Mitsumasa Fujitsuka
June 04, 2007 /

Suntory Museum of Art
Kengo Kuma & Associates
Tokyo, Japan

"Our idea was to realize within a massive urban architecture an imagery so fragile that it may break if not handled wholeheartedly."

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