After Tadao Ando, Toyo Ito, and Fumihiko Maki, Kengo Kuma has breathed renewed vigor and lightness into Japanese architecture. Departing from the modernist skyscraper of the 20th century, Kuma traveled through his native Japan to develop a truly sustainable approach, translating local craftsmanship and resources into site-specific, timely buildings. Informed by tradition, and with both feet firmly planted in the present, this “materialist” heralds a new tactile architecture marked by its engaging surfaces, innovative structures, and fluid forms, reconnecting people with the physicality of a house. Kuma’s objective, above all else, is “just to respect the culture and environment of the place where I am working.”
To this end, Kuma shaped the China Academy of Art’s Folk Art Museum partially from discarded roof tiles; created a Chapel out of birch and moss in Nagano; and worked with local craftsmen to sculpt the V&A Dundee into a twisted, layered reflection of the Scottish coastal cliffs. With an extraordinary sensitivity for space, light, and texture, Kuma reveals unexpected qualities in materials, finding the weightlessness of stone in Chokkura Plaza and the softness of aluminum in the thatched roof of the Yangcheng Lake Tourist Transportation Center.
More recently, the architect brought his philosophy to the Japan National Stadium built for the Olympic Games, originally planned for 2020. Kuma has said the stadium could be “the catalyst that will transform Tokyo back from a concrete city. I want it to set an example that will help alter the direction of Japanese architectural design.”
In this XXL-sized monograph with some 500 illustrations spanning photographs, sketches, and plans, Kuma guides us through his entire career to date, detailing milestone projects as well as ongoing works.
Also available as an Art Edition with a custom-built wooden slipcase and accompanied by a photogravure of a sketch by Kengo Kuma, signed by the artist and limited to 200 copies.
“Details the architect’s humanistic approach to architecture.” â€• fastcompany.com
“…unfolds the mastery of Kengo Kuma’s architecture in its full glory.” â€• wallpaper.com
“For the past 30 years, I have been driven to create architecture by the desire to recover materials, and to reconnect people and physical things. It turned out to be the most enjoyable experience imaginable. This is because the world itself is material.” â€• Kengo Kuma
“A richly illustrated overview of Kuma’s oeuvre that delves into his complete archive of built landmarks across the globe.” â€• thespaces.com
“Explores all aspects of Kuma’s career – from 1988 all the way until today.” â€• designweek.co.uk
“Kuma’s unique and sustainable approach to contemporary architecture is celebrated.” â€• hypebeast.com
About the Author
Philip Jodidio studied art history and economics at Harvard and edited Connaissance des Arts for over 20 years. His TASCHEN books include the Architecture Now! series and monographs on Tadao Ando, Santiago Calatrava, Renzo Piano, Jean Nouvel, Shigeru Ban, Richard Meier, Zaha Hadid, and soon Norman Foster.
Kengo Kuma (born in Yokohama in 1954) attended the University of Tokyo and established Spatial Design Studio in 1979 after further studies at Columbia University, New York. In 1990, he founded Kengo Kuma & Associates. He is based in Tokyo and Paris, while he teaches at the Graduate School of Architecture at the University of Tokyo, where he also runs his own Laboratory, Kuma Lab.