Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, partners in the Japanese architectural firm Sanaa, have won the 2010 Pritzker Architecture Prize, the profession’s highest honor.
“They explore like few others the phenomenal properties of continuous space, lightness, transparency and materiality to create a subtle synthesis,” the jury citation said. “Sejima and Nishizawa’s architecture stands in direct contrast with the bombastic and rhetorical. Instead, they seek the essential qualities of architecture that result in a much appreciated straightforwardness, economy of means and restraint in their work.”
According to The New York Times, the pair’s buildings include the acclaimed New Museum in New York, a sculptural stack of rectilinear boxes on the Bowery, which was completed in 2007. The first Sanaa project in the United States was a glass pavilion for the Toledo Museum of Art, completed in 2006. It holds the museum’s collection of glass artworks, reflecting that city’s history as a major center of glass production.
Although their work has been concentrated in Japan, Mr. Nishizawa and Ms. Sejima have designed projects in Germany, Britain, Spain, France, the Netherlands and the United States. Among their most recent projects is the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology’s Rolex Learning Center in Lausanne, which appears in the above photo.
Honda Shōryū (b. 1951) Untitled, 2006. Bamboo, 18 1/2 x 39 x 14 1/2 in. Jeanne and Michael Klein.
The Japanese have a stunning history in design and architecture in a variety of mediums. Sunday Morning on CBS News did a great segment called Japanese Bamboo Art that discusses the history of the use of bamboo in art and architecture and features artist Shochiku Tanabe.
And last year, Japan Society hosted an exhibit featuring the contemporary works of bamboo masters, such as the piece above by Honda Shōryū, which demonstrates the phenomenal lengths traditional materials can be taken to.
You can check out an online gallery of photos from the exhibit here