Architecture as an art form inspires every other area of creativity; its products are considered as cultural symbols and expressions since the practice began. We at the studio also find an immense inspiration from both the processes and the products of architecture. One architect who underlines the importance of process on the end product is Kengo Kuma
What influences us the most about Kuma’s work is how he uses traditional techniques and materials and how he is insistent on them; his stated goal is to reinterpret Japanese traditions for the 21st century. He ignores the modern approach of privileging style over function, believes architecture is a connector between human beings and nature saying “I think my architecture is some kind of frame of nature. With it, we can experience nature more deeply and more intimately”, thus his work is never divorced from their environment or human needs. Local materials and methods are always prioritised which also helps buildings to relate themselves harmoniously to their surroundings.
Another intention is to support local traditional craftsmanship through material innovation, bringing his know-how in modularity. This constant collaboration with Japanese craftsmen and using local materials led Kuma to win a Global Award for Sustainable Architecture in 2016.
The 2011 Tsunami that wiped out dozens of towns and devastated the community stunned Kuma and confirmed the direction he was going in, “After the tsunami, we finally found that we were weak in front of the power of nature.” he stated. His holistic approach on the art of architecture included working with Japanese craftsmen as well as using wood to construct the stadium for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics sourced from the cities that were destroyed by the incident.
What do you think of his work? Let us know in the comments below.