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03 July 2020

In July, we continue to focus on architects who were deeply inspired by nature. This month, we focus on Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa.

Tokyo-based SANAA (Sejima and Nishizawa and Associates) was found in 1995 by architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa.

Born in Hitachi (Japan) on 29 September 1956, Kazuyo Sejima received her master’s degree from Japan Women's University and briefly worked with Toyo İto. She founded her own architecture office Kazuyo Sejima and Associates in Japan’s capital Tokyo in 1987. Later, she became one of the founding partners of SANAA.

Born in Tokyo on 7 February 1966, Ryue Nishizawa graduated from Yokohama National University. One of the students of Toyo İto, Nishizawa is also one of the first employees of Kazuyo Sejima. In 1995, she co-founded SANAA with Sejima. She continues to work independently for the architecture firm named Ryue Nishizawa Office, which she established in 1997.

Both architects received the Pritzkers Prize, one of the most prestigious awards in the field of architecture for the work they completed in the scope of SANAA.

Prominent Projects with Wood-Based Products

Grace Farms

Located in New Canaan, Connecticut, this 80-acre public space was built for the non-profit Grace Farms Foundation. The projects aims to let people experience nature. The structure serves as a large  public space where culture and art events are often held.

Built according to a concept developed by SANAA, this structure nestles onto land just like a river does. The aim is to create a natural structure make it blend in with its surroundings.

Wood is predominantly used in the making of this structure along with glass, concrete, and steel. Surrounded entirely with glass, the structure incorporates a wooden roof.

21st Century Contemporart Art Museum

Located in Kanazawa, this Museum was built in 2004. Structured to incorporate geometrical shapes, the museum building easily blends in with its surroundings.

Incorporating a transparent design, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art building has a circular building, with a diameter of 112.5 meters. The park located in front of the museum building is conceived as an extension so as to serve its transparent purposes.

Cloud Shaped Pavilion

Measuring 8m in height, this cloud-shaped structure aims to provide visitors a bike park and public restrooms.

Made up of posts and wood-based girders, the structure includes a material which allows daylight in.

SANAA might be an architecture firm, but they also design furniture. Designed for the Japanese furniture manifacturer Maruni Wood Industry, armsless or rabbit chair were highly acclaimed.

Resembling a rabbit’s ears, the chair was released in two sizes: mini and minimini. The products was very well-received. It was initially planned to be in the market for a short period of time. However, the demand was too high and the it continued to be manufactured in three sizes, regular, mini, and minimini.

SANAA draws a lot of attention especially with its structures that incorporate the concept of transperancy. The firm continues to design structures around the world.

Both architects received the Pritzkers Prize, one of the most prestigious awards in the field of architecture for the work they completed in the scope of SANAA.