Toyo Ito was born in 1941. After graduating from the University of Tokyo in 1965, he worked in the office of Kiyonori Kikutake until 1969. In 1971, he founded his own office Urban Robot (URBOT), which was renamed Toyo Ito & Associates, Architects. Along with architecture projects all around the world, including Japan, Europe, Asia, and the U.S.A., Ito is engaged in a wide range of activities.
His recent works include the Tama Art University Library (Hachioji Campus), the Za-Koenji Public Theatre, and Torres Porta Fira in Spain. Among the many awards he has received are the AIJ Prize for Design, the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Biennale, the '06 Royal Institute of British Architecture Gold Medal, the Asahi Award, and the Prince Takamatsu World Culture Award.
Kazuyo Sejima (Ibaraki, Japan, 1956) and Ryue Nishizawa (Kanagawa, Japan, 1966) worked independently from each other before founding the SANAA Ltd. studio in 1995. Having studied architecture at the Japan Women’s University, Sejima went on to work for the renowned architect Toyo Ito. She set up her own studio in 1987 and in 1992 was proclaimed Young Architect of the Year in Japan. Nishizawa studied architecture at the Yokohama National University. In addition to his work with Sejima, he has had his own practice since 1997.
The studio has built several extraordinarily successful commercial and institutional buildings, civic centres, homes and museums both in Japan and elsewhere. These include the O Museum in Nagano (1999) and the N Museum in Wakayama (1997), the Day-Care Center in Yokohama (2000), the Prada Beauty Store in Tokyo and Hong Kong (2001), the Issey Miyake and Christian Dior Building in Tokyo (2003) and the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa (2004). Sejima also designed the famous Small House in Tokyo (2000), the Toledo Museum of Art Glass Pavilion, Toledo, Ohio (2001-2006), the extension to the Institut Valencia d’Art Modern, Valencia, Spain (2002 – ), the Zollverein School, Essen, Germany (2003-2006), the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (2003-2007) and the Novartis Campus WSJ-157 Office Building, Basle, Switzerland (2003 – ).
In 2004 Sejima and Nishizawa were awarded the Golden Lion at the 9th Venice Architecture Biennale for their distinguished work on the Metamorph exhibition.
Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa have won the 2010 Pritzker Prize.
The 12th International Architecture Exhibition, was directed by Kazuyo Sejima, the first woman to direct the venice architecture biennale, since its inception in 1980.
Ryue Nishizawa and Kazuyo Sejima.
Sou Fujimoto was born in Hokkaido, Japan on August 4, 1971. In 1994 he graduated in architecture at the Faculty of Engineering, University of Tokyo. He established his own architecture studio, the agency Sou Fujimoto Architects, in Tokyo in 2000, and since 2007 a professor at Kyoto University.
He was first noticed in 2005 when he won the prestigious AR – international Architectural Review Awards in the Young architect’s category, a prize that he garnered for three consecutive years, and the Top Prize in 2006.
In 2008, he was invited to jury these very AR Awards. The same year he won the JIA (Japan Institute of Architects) prize and the highest recognition from the World Architecture Festival, in the Private House section. In 2009, the magazine Wallpaper* accorded him their Design Award. Sou Fujimoto published “Primitive Future” in 2008, the year’s best-selling architectural text. His architectural design, consistently searching for new forms and spaces between nature and artifice.
Sou Fujimoto became the youngest architect to design the annual summer pavilion for London’s Serpentine Gallery in 2013, and has won several awards, notably a Golden Lion for the Japan Pavilion at the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale and The Wall Street Journal Architecture Innovator Award in 2014.
Photographer: David Vintiner
Junya Ishigami, born in Tokyo, Japan (1974). Education:
1994 - 1998 Musashi Institute of Technology.
1998 - 2000 Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music
Professional experience: 2000 - 2004 Kazuyo Sejima + Associates. In 2004 he set up his own firm, "Junya Ishigami + Associates". Junya Ishigami questions common understanding of architecture. This allows him to create things beyond trends, established principles and definitions, develop new structures, new spaces and organize the environment differently. He hopes his projects will be able to change the lifestyle of modern architecture radically and fill it with new values.
Main projects: Table. Tokyo, Japan, 2005 T. project. (First prize in residential architecture project sponsored by the Tokyo Electric Power Company). Tokyo, Japan, 2005 Balloon. Tokyo, Japan, 2007 Kanagawa Institute of Technology KAIT kobo. Kanagawa, Japan, 2008 Yohji Yamamoto New York Gansevoort street store, NY, USA, 2008.
Main awards: “low chair and round table” were acquired by the Pompidou Centre. Milan, Italy, 2004, SD Prize for “small garden of row house”. Japan, 2005, Kirin Prize for “Table” . Tokyo , Japan, 2005, First prize in residential architecture project for “t project”. Tokyo, Japan, 2005, “Table” shown at the Basel Art Fair by Gallery Koyanagi in 2006 and acquired by the Israel Museum. Basel , Swiss, 2006.