Kengo Kuma and Associates
Kengo Kuma was born in 1954 in Yokohama (Japan). After completing his master’s degree in architecture at the University of Tokyo in 1979, he studied at Columbia University as Visiting Scholar from 1985 to 1986. He established Kengo Kuma & Associates in 1990. He then taught at Keio University from 2001 to 2008 as professor, and in 2009 he was installed as Professor at the Graduate School of Architecture, University of Tokyo.
Although remaining in continuity with Japanese traditions with the clarity of structural solutions, implied tectonics, and importance of light and transparency, Kengo Kuma does not restrain himself to the banal and superficial use of ‘light’ materials. Instead, he goes much deeper, extending to the mechanisms of composition to expand the possibilities of materiality. He utilizes technological advancements which can challenge unexpected materials, such as stone, into providing the same sense of lightness and softness as glass or wood. Kuma attempts to attain a sense of spatial immateriality as a consequence of the ‘particulate nature’ of the light and establishing a relationship between a space and the natural round around it.
“You could say that my aim is ‘to recover the place’. The place is a result of nature and time; this is the most important aspect. I think my architecture is some kind of frame of nature. With it, we can experience nature more deeply and more intimately. Transparency is a characteristic of Japanese architecture; I try to use light and natural materials to get a new kind of transparency.” –Kengo Kuma
In many of Kengo Kuma’s projects, attention is focused on the connection spaces; on the segments between inside and outside, and one room to the next. The choice of materials stems not so much from an intention to guide the design of the forms, but to conform to the existing surroundings from a desire to compare similar materials, yet show the technical advances that have made possible new uses.
Kengo Kuma was awarded with the International Spirit of Nature Wood Architecture Award in 2002 (Finland), International Architecture Awards for the Best New Global Design for Chokkura Plaza and Shelter in 2007 and Energy Performance + Architecture Award in 2008 (France). He is an International Fellow of RIBA in UK and Honorary Fellow of AIA of the US.
He has also written numerous books and most of the titles have been translated into Chinese and Korean. His major writings, Anti-Object, Natural Architecture, Small Architecture have also been published in English from AA Publications, the book department of AA School, the UK’s most prestigious architecture institution.
Westbank has built a practice around long-term commitments to artistry, sustainability and city-building. These commitments underlie an orientation towards projects like Woodwards, Vancouver House, Mirvish Village, Telus Garden and Oakridge – catalysts for larger change that go beyond the borders of the projects themselves. We are here to create. To provoke. To ignite. We are the vehicle for a new movement of cultural expression.
The core of Westbank’s mission is to create a body of work with a high degree of artistry that helps foster more equitable and beautiful cities. Westbank is active across Canada and in the United States, with projects including luxury residential, Five Star hotels, retail, office, rental, district energy systems, affordable housing initiatives and public art. Established in 1992, we are one of North America’s leading developers, with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Seattle, Shanghai, Beijing, Taiwan, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shenzhen and over 25 billion dollars of projects completed or under development.
Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Peterson is a privately held, family-owned real estate company, active in real estate investment, development, property management, capital lending and private equity. Today, Peterson has an ownership interest in 7 million square feet of income producing properties including several iconic urban mixed-use projects in Vancouver, British Columbia, and Toronto, Ontario, and an additional 3 million square feet of property currently under development.