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.
Chinese architect Yang Zhao was born in Chongqing, China, in 1980. After studying at Tsinghua University, he established his own practice, Zhaoyang Studio, in 2007. For the first three years, the studio worked closely with Standardarchitecture, a leading new-generation design firm, in Beijing. In 2010, Zhao attended the Harvard Graduate School of Design where he received a master’s degree in architecture with distinction. Among his several built works, the Niyang River Visitor Center in Tibet, completed in collaboration with Standardarchitecture, has received international acclaim as a project that successfully transforms the natural landscape and creates a sense of place in a unique way. Zhao was awarded the 2010 WA Chinese Architecture Award from Beijing-based World Architecture magazine. Located in Dali, Yunnan Province, his studio is involved in exploring architectural solutions to the emerging urban conditions in rural China.