Kengo Kuma & Associates

Kengo 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.