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.
Snøhetta is an integrated architecture, landscape, and interior design company based in Oslo, Norway, and New York City, formed in 1989 and led by principals Craig Dykers and Kjetil Thorsen. The firm, which is named after one of Norway's highest mountain peaks, has approximately 100 staff members working on projects around the world. The practice pursues a collaborative, transdisciplinary approach, with people from multiple professions working together to explore diverse perspectives on each project.
Snøhetta has completed a number of critically acclaimed cultural projects, including the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt; the National Opera and Ballet in Oslo, Norway; and the Lillehammer Art Museum in Norway. Current projects include the National September 11 Memorial Museum Pavilion at the World Trade Center site in New York.
In 2004 Snøhetta received the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, and in 2009 the firm was honored with the Mies van der Rohe Award. Snøhetta is the only company to have twice won the World Architecture Award for best cultural building, in 2002 for the Bibliotheca Alexandrina and in 2008 for the National Opera and Ballet in Oslo.