Professor at the Graduate School of Architecture at the University of Tokyo
Kuma was born in Yokohama, Japan, and attended Eiko Gakuen junior and senior high schools. He moved to New York in 80’s for further studies at Columbia University. In 1990, he established his own office “Kengo Kuma & Associates”. He has taught at Columbia University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Keio University, where in 2008, Kuma was awarded his Ph.D. in Architecture.
Kuma lectures extensively and is the author of numerous books and articles discussing and criticizing approaches in contemporary architecture. His seminal text Anti-Object: The Dissolution and Disintegration of Architecture from 2008, calls for an architecture of relations, respecting its surroundings instead of dominating them. Kuma’s projects maintain a keen interest in the manipulation of light with nature through materiality.
TIME & MATERIAL – The images of architectural structures that many of us feel unconsciously are that buildings appear suddenly and separate inside and outside. Architectural structures with symbolic and innovative design, which were built one after another during the 20th century, have strong characteristics that are disconnected from the surrounding environment.
Kengo Kuma aims to build architectural structures using completely opposite approaches. He wants to build a building that utilizes the environment of the place and links together the building itself with surrounding spaces, not a building that disconnects from others and has strong characteristics where the presence of surrounding environment is diminished. According to Kengo Kuma, living in an architectural structure is to create a human relationship with the community and generate human bondage, playing a supporting role in strengthening people’s livelihoods, as he makes a firm statement that architectural structures are not just a hard box. In the 21st century, he says that we must have an individualized architecture, in which people repossess humility toward nature to utilize the place.