The quintessential Japanese architect of today, Kengo Kuma has forged a modern design language that artfully combines the country’s traditional building crafts with sophisticated technologies and materials. Kenneth Frampton frames Kuma’s work in the context of post-war Japan’s flourishing architecture scene. From his iconic Water/Glass (1995) to the Nezu Museum in Tokyo (2009), each building is presented through descriptive text, newly commissioned photographs, and detailed drawings that reveal the refined architectonic vocabulary that characterizes Kuma’s buildings.
Created in collaboration with Kuma, the projects are organized by materials: Water and Glass; Wood; Grass and Bamboo; and Stone, Earth, and Ceramics.
This important opus brings convincing evidence that embracing the ambivalence inherent in a negotiation between tradition and contemporary technology, and between normative regulation and creativity, is key to architecture's pertinence to culture.
— The Architect's Newspaper
Kenneth Frampton is Ware Professor of Architecture at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University.