Kengo Kuma is one of the most significant contemporary Japanese architects. His poetics express the emotional content of materials, connected with their intrinsic characteristics in construction and with the teachings of Japanese tradition.
Study of place is an essential key to integrating a project with its surroundings so that it will not disturb the balance but be a natural product of it built by human hands, as illustrated by Yusuhara Wooden Bridge Museum in Tarougawa, the Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center in Tokyo or the Great (Bamboo) Wall House near Beijing.
His installations are also well-known, such as “Cidori” at Castello Sforzesco in Milan in 2007, in which Kuma expresses a graphic module in two or three dimensions with great emotional impact. The relationship between graphics and architecture is one of the key themes he has investigated in the course of his career, producing significant results such as the Lotus House or Prostho Museum Research Center in Kasugai-shi.
Born in Yokohama in 1954, Kuma studied at Tokyo University, graduating in1979. In 1987 he opened Spatial Design Studio, and in 1990 Kengo Kuma & Associates, based in Tokyo. In 2008 he also opened an office in Paris. Kuma currently teaches at the Graduate School of Architecture of Tokyo University, while in the past he has taught at Keio University and been a visiting professor at the University of Illinois and Columbia University. His work has been internationally acknowledged and received prestigious awards such as the Spirit of Nature Wood Architecture Award (Finland), the Grand Prize for JCD Design Award 1995 Cultural / Public Institutions for Kiro-san Observatory in Ehime, and the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology’s Art Encouragement Prize for Yusuhara Wooden Bridge Museum.
Solo exhibitions of his work include the travelling exhibition “Kengo Kuma, The Architecture Between Tradition and Innovation” in 2005, and more recently, “Studies in Organic” in Tokyo in 2009.