Architect: Kengo Kuma

Kengo Kuma... where do I start...

Takayanagi Community Center - © Kengo Kuma

The scope and body of his work is amazing. One of the true masters working today. I mean not to forget to include the associates and staff at his offices, you just can't pull of successful large scale architecture without them. 

Warning I digress for a minute here, feel free to skip this to see stuff about Kuma below.
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This is likely a point for it's own discussion (I'm definitely not intending to associate Kengo Kuma with it, I have no concept of the style of practice he runs), but there is a situation within the industry I want to mention; the 'heroizing' the firm head, or the creation of the STARchitect. Sure, the 'one' individual may have started the firm and in most instances has both design savvy (or a real capacity to leverage other peoples talents) and, almost always,  a major capacity for business, but once they reach a staff of 50-100 people, with 20-50+ major projects occurring at various stages simultaneously, how involved is that firm head? In many instances today, this leader is not the one coming up with new design ideas, or even coming into the office for more than a few hours in any given week. This is not to say they are not working hard, just not in the office doing the design work they are "known" for. Frequently in these major offices it falls to the junior staff to come up with the ideas, which then are approved or rejected by the design principal in charge, or on rare occasion, the firm head. As a former employee of an organization run in a similar fashion, and a friend of many junior architects working at companies like this, I'm taking this moment to appreciate them... We should all take a minute to appreciate the insanely hard work these ladies and gentlemen are doing, they are really working towards a betterment of the built environment, and thus society. Frequently their own understanding of this is the only kudos they get. That and the ability to say "I worked on that". 
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As an office leader and designer, Kengo Kuma is consistently pushing new ideas, frequently blending tradition with contemporary and modern concepts. An aspect of his work that really appeals out to me is the intense use of pattern and textures, sometimes augmenting traditional forms, sometimes more contemporary, but often with natural materials.

I must admit, that not all of his architecture particularly appeals to me formally (though most of it does - and all that is shown here), but I am able to appreciate the basic design ideas and gestures made in every piece I've seen his office complete. 

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Takayanagi Community Center

© Kengo Kuma 
© Kengo Kuma 
© Kengo Kuma


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 Xinjin-zhi Museum


© Kengo Kuma

© Kengo Kuma

© Kengo Kuma

© Kengo Kuma

© Kengo Kuma


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Shizuoka International Garden and Horticulture Exhibition


© Kengo Kuma

© Kengo Kuma

© Kengo Kuma

© Kengo Kuma

© Kengo Kuma


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Prostho Museum Research Center

© Kengo Kuma

© Kengo Kuma

© Kengo Kuma

© Kengo Kuma