Talk by master architect from Japan inspires many minds

Talk by master architect from Japan inspires many minds

Architecture enthusiasts, professionals and students were all ears for the first-ever talk delivered by a Pritzker Architecture Prize winner (often called the Nobel prize of architecture) in the City when Kazuyo Sejima, a Japanese architect known for her modernist designs, spoke here on Tuesday. 

Although her career has spanned nearly four decades, Sejima drew from her experience of the last 10 years that has included a number of notable works such as the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa, Japan, the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York City, USA and The Rolex Learning Centre at the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Career challenges
Speaking about the 21st Century Museum, Sejima explained that rather than develop the museum as a static space, the idea was to develop a museum defined by its activities and “developed by its uses, of artists, curators or even children”. As a result, one would find small galleries within big galleries and galleries used in different ways, at times as a space for music and at another for other purposes, she said. 

Explaining the challenge in taking up the New York project, she said that with limited space, the task was to make “a building that would represent a “continuity” with the surroundings. “Some spaces are used as platforms for art, while at others, the people can enjoy the entire city.”   

One of the hardest projects, as described by Sejima, was to design the campus hub and library for EPFL.

“For this project, we wanted that there should be an organic relation between various functions. It was very challenging to keep the functions independent, but at the same time connected. We wanted the spaces to be intimate, while also catering to the outside.

For example, the library will definitely be a quiet place, but at the same time the cafe nearby should be a space for activity,” she said.

Other works of Sejima include the Shibaura House in Tokyo, Japan and the Louvre-Lens in France. The talk was organised by the Malnad Architecture School Alumni.   
 

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