Japanese architects: The Prize-winning Sejima, Nishizawa

April 7th, 2010By Category: Uncategorized

(Christian Dior Building in Tokyo’s Ometesando)

It was two Japanese architects who took home the recently-announced Pritzker Prize for 2010.  Their work was praised for its flowing, dreamlike spaces and if you are traveling around Japan this summer there are plenty of examples of their work that should be added to your itinerary.

(21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art Kanazawa, Ishikawa)

The Pritzker jury of architects, academics, writers and designers praised the two winners, Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa for creating structures that blend into their surroundings and provide unassuming backdrops for the activities that go on there.

Among the projects mentioned by the Pritzker jury were the translucent-skinned Christian Dior Building in Tokyo’s upscale Omotesando shopping district and the Toledo Museum of Art’s see-through Glass Pavilion.

(O-Museum Iida, Nagano)

Despite being the fourth Pritzker laureates to be chosen from Japan both Sejima and Nishizawa  deny they work within any sort of distinct Japanese architectural tradition. They do acknowledge however being influenced by the austere construction methods prevalent in Japanese cities, the use of lightweight materials and the overlapping boundaries between inside and outside space that characterize traditional Japanese buildings.

“If you see Japanese temples made of wood, you can see how the architecture is made up,” Nishizawa said. “They have a clear construction and transparency and they are quite simple. I think this is one of the big things that we are influenced by.”

(New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York)

The Pritzker jury also named the pair’s New Museum of Contemporary Art, a mid-rise stack of unevenly sized, white metal blocks that sit atop a transparent glass base on a scruffy street in New York’s lower east side.

The museum moved in December 2007 from its previous location in an up-market SoHo shopping area to the new site in a shabbier part of town.
Nishizawa highlighted that project as embodying the duo’s ambition of creating buildings that are open for all to enjoy.

What buildings in Japan do you enjoy?

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  • Looking to explore architecture and travel?

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  • GV100 says:

    You missed to mention about the Prada bldg in Aoyama! That is sooo awesome.
    In side of the bldg, you can see the architects' introductions or “draft” + “Concepts” etc.. all bits but interesting things,,not only the clothes and shoes and bags!

  • Jane says:

    This article is awesome.
    I love architecture and these Japanese designers are really good! They think “outside the box” and step themselves into doing the impossibles. Love it!