In this episode, I have hosted prolific, award winning, and super influential Japanese architect Kengo Kuma. Through his unique voice both in architecture and in critical theory, Kuma san has brought the continuity of Japanese heritage and its craftsmanship to 21st century architecture. He has famously compared architecture to sushi saying that both require the best local materials from the best places, in the right seasons. He always thrives to integrate architecture with nature and with its landscape, with the use of traditional materials mainly ceramic, stone, bamboo, and wood, merging modernism with Japanese vernacular.
His Tokyo-based firm Kengo Kuma & Associates employs over 200 architects with spectacular projects across the globe. His new book My Life as an Architect in Tokyo is a poetic tribute to the city he loves. Kuma teaches us how to read and understand Tokyo’s built fabric, helping us to fully appreciate Tokyo’s architecture through a memorable and in-depth tour of his city; a trip filled with inspiration and surprises. Through the ruins of both the 1923 Great Earthquake and the bombing of WWII, we learn of Tokyo’s urban landscape from its early times through the 20th century, and how the changes in the Japanese economy has impacted the built fabric.