"I cannot live without books." -- Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Fumihiko Maki

From Phaidon, Fumihiko Maki. Deceptively appearing simple in whole form, Japanese architect Fumihiko Maki creates sophisticated structures mixing collaged design elements with functionality, progressive technology, and a constant strive for modernity while thoughtfully relating the project to its physical surroundings and more recently, its global impact. Compared to his numerous works throughout Japan, Maki has designed a limited number of structures within the United States (Kemper Art Museum, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts), but will soon invade New York City with a 13 story mixed-use tower in Cooper Square, a prominent seat on New York City’s skyline with the planned World Trade Center Tower 4, and a recently completed expansion project for the United Nations.

Fumihiko Maki travels through three phases of Maki’s 50-year career: The first period labeled his “formative years” including his training at university, the birth of his practice Maki & Associates, and his time as faculty member at the School of the Architecture at Washington University in St. Louis. Next, the two decades (1970-1990) in which Maki grew into his signature modernist form of expression, and lastly, Maki today - in the dawn of the 21st century and in the face of global warming and globalization. What’s wonderful about this book is that it’s authored by the architect… and as a current professor of architectural studies at Keio University in Japan, the reader is no less his student. In his own succinct words, Maki thoughtfully reflects on a select forty-four projects alongside stunning photographs, models, drawings, and supplemental essays from architecture historians Kenneth Frampton, David Stewart, and Mark Mulligan. (320 pages, hardcover).

Highlights: Fujisawa Minicipal Gymnasium (Fujisawa, Japan), Mihara Performing Arts Centre (Hiroshima, Japan), Republic Polytechnic Campus (Woodlands, Singapore), and the in-progress Aga Khan Museum (Ontario, Canada) and World Trade Center Tower 4 (New York City, United States).

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