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Kengo Kuma – Complete works

Mandana Bender

Japanese architect Kengo Kuma is known for his sustainable designs, for his exceptional sensitivity to space, light, and texture. Now his work has been documented in a comprehensive volume with numerous illustrations and photographs as well as designs.

Kengo Kuma. The Complete Works. The book cover of the edition by Taschen. Image: Courtesy of TASCHEN




Following the footsteps of his colleagues Tadao Ando, Toyo Ito and Fumihiko Maki, Kengo Kuma has brought new strength and lightness to Japanese architecture. Turning away from the modernist skyscraper of the 20th century, Kuma traveled across Japan to develop his sustainable approach. He is using local craftsmanship as well as local resources. As a result, Kuma’s designs create a traditional new architecture that is at the same time rooted in the present. Its appealing surfaces, innovative structures, and fluid forms connect people to the physicality of the home. His primary aspiration, as Kuma emphasizes, is “respect for the culture and environment of the place where I work.”

Kengo Kuma and his sensitivity to space, light, and texture

For example, He designed the China Academy of Arts’ Folk Art Museum, with light- and air-permeable walls. They consist of discarded roof tiles. Another example is a chapel made of birch logs and moss in the Japanese province. He collaborates with local craftsmen on his designs to echo local building traditions, such as the V&A Dundee, which, with its sinuous and layered form, evokes the rugged Scottish rock cliffs.

Kuma has an exceptional sensitivity to space, light, and texture. This allows him to wring unexpected qualities from each material. E.g. the weightlessness of stone in Chokkura Plaza. Or the softness of aluminum in the thatched roof of the Yangcheng Lake Tourist Transportation Center.

Philip Jodidio, editor-in-chief of “Connaissance des Arts” for over two decades and one of the most internationally renowned writers on architecture, has now published a comprehensive book on the work of Kengo Kuma, which Taschen Verlag released at the beginning of August.

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An overview of  Kengo Kuma‘s career

“This man looks at the earth and the shadows and sees the here and now” said Jodidio about Kengo Kuma, whose buildings make the urban world more livable. The book highlights Kuma’s designs from 1988 to the present. It celebrates Kuma’s unique and enduring approach to each design. According to Kuma, his idea for the Japanese National Stadium for the Summer Olympics could perhaps be the catalyst that transforms the current concrete city of Tokyo back. In doing so, he hopes to help change the direction of Japanese architecture.

With over 500 illustrations and large-format photographs, drawings, and design plans, readers will get a comprehensive overview of his career, which continues to this day. The book also shows personal highlights and projects as well as current designs. It has been produced in close collaboration with the architect. There is also a limited edition of 200, which includes a heliogravure signed by Kengo Kuma in an original drawing in a wooden slipcase designed by Kuma and made in Japan.

Kuma. Complete Works 1988–Today
Kengo Kuma, Philip Jodidio

Hardcover, 30,8 x 39 cm, 4,97 kg, 460 Seiten

Multilingual edition: English, French, German
150 Euro

Did you know Kengo Kuma designed the new H. C. Andersen Museum in Odense?

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