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"Architects Can Control Only Certain Things" says Pritzker laureate Fumihiko Maki

Japan Architecture News - Mar 30, 2018 - 06:33   5144 views

PLANE—SITE, a global agency working at the interface of urban form, cultural space, and social life, has released its new video-interview with one of the world’s foremost living modernists, AIA Gold Medalist and Pritzker laureate Fumihiko Maki, within the scope of the Time-Space-Existence series of the company. 


Stretching career over 60 years and eschewing “unnecessary forms or textures” (as he puts it), his designs are understated integrations of metal, glass and concrete. 

Like other Japanese architects of his generation, Maki has spent a lifetime unafraid to embrace new technologies while insisting on their humanity. In this new video for the Time-Space-Existence series, Maki discusses the importance in acknowledging human behavior in architecture, the strange shapes of today’s skyscrapers, and the influence of his mentor, Kenzo Tange.

4 World Trade Center. Image © Tectonic

Fumihiko Maki, 89, was trained under Kenzo Tange at the University of Tokyo, where he graduated in Architecture in 1952. He then completed a Master of Architecture degree at the Graduate School of Design (GSD), Harvard University, and began work at Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, New York and, later, Sert Jackson and Associates in Cambridge. 

He returned to Tokyo in 1965, where he started his own firm, Maki and Associates. He is best-known for the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, New York’s Four World Trade Center, the Tokyo Spiral and Kyoto’s National Museum of Modern Art.

MIT Media Lab. Image © Anton Grassl

Spiral. Image © Toshiharu Kitajima

The Aga Khan Museum in Toronto. Image © Shinkenchiku Sha

The Time-Space-Existence video series has already featured both prominent and emerging architects including Denise Scott-Brown, Peter Eisenman, Meinhard von Gerkan, WOHA Architects, Curt Fentress, Dirk Hebel, Arata Isozaki and others. The series will be exhibited in Palazzo Bembo and Palazzo Mora. At least one video will be released each month in the run-up to the opening of the exhibition.

Produced by PLANE—SITE, the video has been commissioned by the GAA Foundation and funded by the ECC in the run-up to the Time-Space-Existence exhibition during La Biennale di Venezia Architettura (opening May 2018). 

Top image: Fumihiko Maki © PLANE—SITE