Interview with Kengo Kuma

Floornature interviews Kengo Kuma in Padua’s Palazzo della Ragione during an inspection for design of the installation of the exhibition dedicated to the Japanese architect. An opportunity to look at Kengo Kuma’s work and understand how he works, experimenting with materials.

By Floornature Architecture

Kuma was born in Yokohama, Japan, and attended Eiko Gakuen junior and senior high schools. After graduating in Architecture from the University of Tokyo in 1979, he worked for a time at Nihon Sekkei and TODA Corporation. He then moved to New York for further studies at Columbia University as a visiting researcher from 1985 to 1986. In 1987, he founded the “Spatial Design Studio”, and in 1990, he established his own office “Kengo Kuma & Associates”. He has taught at Columbia University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Keio University, where in 2008, Kuma was awarded his Ph.D. in Architecture. [1] Kuma is currently Professor at the Graduate School of Architecture at the University of Tokyo, running diverse research projects concerning architecture, urbanity and design within his own Laboratory, Kuma Lab.[2] His office Kengo Kuma & Associates employs over 150 architects in Tokyo and Paris, designing projects of diverse type and scale throughout the world.

Kuma’s stated goal is to recover the tradition of Japanese buildings and to reinterpret these traditions for the 21st century. In 1997, he won the Architectural Institute of Japan Award and in 2009 was made an Officier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France. Kuma lectures extensively and is the author of numerous books and articles discussing and criticizing approaches in contemporary architecture. His seminal text Anti-Object: The Dissolution and Disintegration of Architecture from 2008, calls for an architecture of relations, respecting its surroundings instead of dominating them. Kuma’s projects maintain a keen interest in the manipulation of light with nature through materiality. Key projects include the Suntory Museum of Art in Tokyo, Bamboo Wall House in China, LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy) Group’s Japan headquarters, Besançon Art Center in France, and one of the largest spas in the Caribbean for Mandarin. More >>>

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