Kengo Kuma

20130205 Kengo Kuma

Of late, the most interesting strand of contemporary Japanese architecture has to be what you might call “deceptive minimalism”: an almost mute, disappearing architecture that expends huge amounts of energy in a quest to solve all of a project’s problems through the most simple of gestures. This is the architecture of Kazuyo Sejima, Ryue Nishizawa, Sou Fujimoto, Junya Ishigami and a whole host of young practices. It is distinguished by simple shapes in complex arrangements, columns reduced to wires and floors that roll across the landscape. When done well it is stunning, achieving a thrilling intensification of spatial experience, a refinement that takes true mastery to achieve. But when left to less accomplished hands it can often be reduced to a cavalvade of off-axis cubes, fish-tank living quarters and wilfully plain surfaces, falling victim to the perennial risk of any minimalist work: that it will be just plain boring.

full article in Icon magazine