Anne Robinson, Karen Saxby
It was around Kengo Kuma’s tenth birthday that he came into contact with KenzoTange’s fishlike Yoyogi National Gymnastics building, completed for the 1964 TokyoOlympics, and determined that he would become an architect. In the interveningfive or so decades, he has become one of the world’s most fascinating and influentialarchitects. His design of the National Stadium for the Tokyo Olympics providesa poetic circularity to his career as an architect, and an opportunity for him to reflect on his own development.
Kuma is known throughout the world for his formally daring and materiallyexpressive buildings, recognized for his inventive use of traditional materials, and his use of innovative materials in vernacular forms. He is perhaps less known for his work inside his native Japan, where he works actively towards the preservation of ancient building techniques and craft. A keen curiosity for all forms of building and a wealth of knowledge about the world acquired through expansive travels make Kuma a unique commentator on Tokyo’s dynamic architecture.
Through twenty-five stories, this intimate little publication paints a picture of howa building inspired a boy to become an architect, how Japan’s national heritage helpedform his thinking, and how his professional experience has made him one of the mostsuccessful architects of his generation. This book contains something for everyone:design acumen, insights into Japanese culture, a tour of Tokyo and the heartfeltcommitment to producing buildings that have meaning and longevity.