KEYNOTE: Material Explorations with Kengo Kuma

16:40 - 17:30 14 September 2019

Kengo Kuma



About Speaker

Kengo Kuma was born in 1954, in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. He studied at Tokyo University (completing a Masters degree in 1979) and Columbia University, New York, establishing Kengo Kuma & Associates in 1990. He was awarded a PhD from Keio University (2001), and is Professor at the Graduate School of Architecture at the University of Tokyo, where he conducts research into new materials and a course in advanced digital design and fabrication.

His experiments with lightness, transparency and materiality can be traced to Japanese traditions, and the work of Frank Lloyd Wright and Kenzo Tange, but more crucially to the ordinary, ‘ageing’ 1930s house of his childhood, which felt ‘out of place’ among the concrete blocks of post-war Japan. In his award-winning work with stone, wood, glass, aluminium and bamboo – including Hiroshige Museum (2000), Great (Bamboo) Wall (2002), FRAC Marseille (2013), Aix-en-Provence Conservatory of Music (2013) and Toshima Ward Office (2015) – Kuma dissolves or ‘atomises’ material, sometimes folding it like origami, using innovative techniques to connect his forms to nature, poetry, music, art and science.

He writes prolifically, about a ‘screen’ between outside and inside, a ‘void’ for the wind to pass through, and most importantly, the ‘power of place’. In 2018 the V&A Dundee by Kengo Kuma & Associates opened, and in summer 2020 his design for the Tokyo Olympic Stadium will become the focus of the world. Kuma now has offices in Tokyo, Paris and Beijing.




16:40 - 17:30 14 September 2019