id library: The Complete Kengo Kuma

We adore Kuma’s contemporary approach to Japanese architecture

The Complete Kengo Kuma

After Tadao Ando, Toyo Ito, and Fumihiko Maki, Kengo Kuma has revitalized Japanese architecture with his distinctive approach. Moving away from the modernist skyscrapers of the 20th century, Kengo Kuma has developed a truly sustainable architecture, deeply rooted in local craftsmanship and resources. His work is characterized by engaging surfaces, innovative structures, and fluid forms that reconnect people with the physicality of their surroundings. Kuma’s designs are informed by tradition and are profoundly site-specific. He prioritizes respecting the culture and environment of each location, which is evident in his diverse portfolio. For instance, he crafted the China Academy of Art’s Folk Art Museum from discarded roof tiles, created a chapel out of birch and moss in Nagano, and collaborated with local artisans to sculpt the V&A Dundee into a reflection of the Scottish coastal cliffs.

Yusuhara Community Market, Japan

His sensitivity to space, light, and texture allows him to reveal unexpected qualities in materials. Kuma finds the weightlessness of stone in Chokkura Plaza and the softness of aluminum in the thatched roof of the Yangcheng Lake Tourist Transportation Center. More recently, Kuma applied his philosophy to the Japan National Stadium built for the Olympic Games, aiming to transform Tokyo from a concrete city to one that respects its natural environment. Kuma hopes the stadium will alter the direction of Japanese architectural design.

Kengo Kuma x identity
Shipyard 1862, Shanghai, China

This XXL-sized monograph, featuring some 500 illustrations, including photographs, sketches, and plans, guides readers through Kuma’s entire career, highlighting milestone projects and ongoing works.

Additionally, an Art Edition is available, featuring a custom-built wooden slipcase and a photogravure of a sketch by Kengo Kuma, signed by the artist and limited to 200 copies.

Kengo Kuma x identity
Whitestone Gallery Taipei, Taiwan

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