Naoya Hatakeyama. Born in Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture in 1958. Studied with Kiyoji Otsuji in the School of Art and Design at the University of Tsukuba. Completed a master's course at the same university in 1984. Since that time, Hatakeyama has been based in Tokyo, producing series of works that are concerned with people's involvement with nature, the city, and photography. He has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions both in Japan and abroad. In 2001, he showed his work in the Japan Pavilion at the Venice Biennale along with Masato Nakamura and Yukio Fujimoto (commissioner: Eriko Osaka). An exhibition called Natural Stories, which includes scenes of his hometown of Rikuzentakata following its destruction in the tsunami earlier this year, is currently on view at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography (until Dec. 4).
Photo: Marc Feustel
Akihisa Hirata. Born in Osaka Prefecture in 1971. Graduated from the Department of Architecture in the Faculty of Engineering at Kyoto University in 1994. Completed a master's course at the same university in 1997. After working at Toyo Ito & Associates, he established the Akihisa Hirata Architecture Office in 2005. At present, he is a specially-appointed associate professor at Tohoku University, and a part-time lecturer at Kyoto University, the University of Tokyo, and UCLA. Among the many honors he has received are SD Review's Asakura Award (2004), and the 19th JIA Newcomer's Award (2008). His important works include masuya (2005) and alp (2008). His published works include Contemporary Architect's Concept Series 8: Tangling (INAX, 2011).
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
Kumiko Inui. Born in Osaka Prefecture in 1969. Graduated from the Architecture and Planning Course in the Faculty of Fine Arts at Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music in 1992. Completed a master's course at the School of Architecture, Yale University in 1996. Worked at Jun Aoki and Associates from 1996 to 2000. Established the Office of Inui Kumiko in 2000. Currently serving as an associate professor at Tokyo University of the Arts. Her important works include the Kataokadai Kindergarten Renovation (2001), Jurgen Lehl Marunouchi (2003), Dior Ginza (2004), Apartment I (2007; recipient of Shin-Kenchiku Prize), Small House H (2009; recipient of Tokyo Society of Architects & Building Engineers Prize), Flower Shop H (2009; recipient of Japan Federation of Architects & Building Engineers Association Prize, and the Good Design Gold Award), and Tasaki Ginza (2010). Her published works include Episodes (INAX, 2008) and Home of Asakusa (Heibonsha, 2011).
Photo by Takashi Kato.
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.