Well-known Japanese architect Kengo Kuma was named to the list of 100 Most Influential People in 2021. Kuma is also the only architect in this annual ranking of the world’s most influential figures compiled by American magazine.
Kuma heads Tokyo-based architecture firm Kengo Kuma and Associates, which recently hit the headlines for designing the new National Stadium for the Tokyo Olympics. 67-year-old Kuma, one of Japan’s leading contemporary architects, has directed the design of several prestigious projects around the world, including the GC Prostho Museum Research Center, Japan; Folk Art Museum, China; V&A Dundee, Scotland; and The Exchange, Australia.
Kenjiro Hosaka, director of the Shiga Museum of Art, describes Kuma in his quote for the Time 100 recognition as someone who advocates an ideal of “lost architecture” – complicated buildings that disappear into their surroundings.
Regarding the National Stadium project – the centerpiece of this year’s Games – Hosaka said: “His stylistic fingerprints can be seen in the elaborate project that Kengo Kuma and Associates designed in collaboration with two other companies for this year’s Olympic Games.”
“The facade of the oval building is lined with greenery … so that a series of wooden eaves – a preferred material for Kuma, which is sourced from prefectures across Japan – blend better with the surrounding garden. The eaves slope upwards to gently welcome visitors inside, where tens of thousands of forest-colored seats await you. “
Public projects like the Olympic Stadium, which impose certain conditions and demands on architects and restrict their freedom of expression, can nonetheless gain natural sympathy and create a welcome new space for communities, according to Hosaka.
Credit: Nils Jorgensen – I-Images / Eyevine / Redux (Source: Time Magazine)