Designer Review: Kazuyo Sejima

In an industry where the iconic and the bold rule, Kazuyo Sejima whispered her way through the world of architecture, becoming one the most important figures to be known. Enigmatic, tranquil, and Neutral,  Sejima’s style is known to be a reflection of her personality — a person with few words but with superb ideas.  

Kazuyo Sejima
Canopy Gathering Space (Kazuyo Sejima”,
by Columbia GSAPP , Licensed under CC BY 2.0

As a young architect, Sejima worked for Toyo Ito before deciding to forge her path and built Kazuyo Sejima and Associates. Her first projects are a series of explorations on architecture as an instrument for human experience, “Couldn’t we look at a site as a place on which actions happen to pass by? … Architecture could be a temporary phenomenon that appears in an action maker’s awareness and images, while actions move across the locale”. She translated this vision on her project, Platform Houses in Katsuura, which won her The Japan Institute of Architects’ Young Architect of the Year award in 1992. 

In 1995, Kazuyo Sejima started to become recognized globally when she co-founded SANAA with Ryue Nishizawa where their white and enigmatic aesthetics swept across three continents. Their seek of essential qualities of architecture, and studies on continuous space, lightness, transparency, context, and materiality, were rewarded with several accolades including the Golden Lion Award in Venice Biennale in 2004 and eventually the highest prize in the profession, Pritzker Prize in Architecture in 2010. 

21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art
21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa“,
by 金沢市, Licensed under CC BY 2.1 JP

Grace Farms
view of the serpentine design of the “River Building” complex by SANAA“,
by Jllm06, Licensed under CC BY- SA 4.0

Sumida Hokusai Museum
2018 Sumida Hokusai Museum 2“,
by Kakidai, Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Christian Dior Ometosando
Christian Dior Omotesando Tokyo 2015
by Kakidai, Licensed Under CC BY – SA 4.0

Sejima continues to create impressive stories with her projects in SANAA like The New Museum in New York, Louvre-Lens in France, Rolex Learning Center, and 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art Kanazawa.  Her idea of integrating architecture, nature, and human experience, separates SANAA from the typical bombastic architecture that eventually becomes passe. Time and again proving that a meaningful and human-centered intervention transcends time, creating a memorable and sublime architecture.

Rolex Learning Center
Rolex Learning Center
by Ricardo Martins, Licensed Under CC BY – SA 3.0

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