Published in conjunction with an exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art, A Japanese Constellation focuses on the work of a small group of architects and designers influenced by and gravitating around the architect Toyo Ito and the architectural firm SANAA. Beginning with an overview of Ito's career and his influence as a mentor to a new generation of Japanese architects, the catalogue presents a richly illustrated portfolio of recent works by three generations of internationally acclaimed designers, including Sou Fujimoto, Akihisa Hirata, and Junya Ishigami. A Japanese Constellation reveals a network of influence and cross-pollination that has become particularly relevant at the start of the 21st century. Essays by curators, architectural historians, and critics reflect on the transmission of an architectural sensibility, and suggest an alternative model to what has been commonly described as an individuality-based star-system in architecture. Offering a parama of interlinked settled or up-and-coming stars, the publication reveals how shared architectural themes travel across generations of architects, creating a strong identity for a regional practice with global impact.
Toyo Ito (born 1941) is well known for a highly conceptual take on architecture. After working in the offices of Kiyonori Kikutake, one of the most celebrated Japanese Metabolists, he founded his first office in 1971 and established Toyo Ito & Associates, Architects in 1979. Critically acclaimed projects include the Sendai Mediatheque (1995-2001) and the Taichung Metropolitan Opera House (2005-15) in Taiwan. He has been awarded some of the profession's highest honors, including the Pritzker Architecture Prize (2013), the Praemium Imperiale (2010), and RIBA's Royal Gold Medal (2006). SANAA, founded in 1995 by the architects Kazuyo Sejima (born 1956) and Ryue Nishizawa (born 1966), has designed highly innovative buildings in Japan and internationally. Significant projects include the Rolex Learning Center (2004-10) in Lausanne, Switzerland, and the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art (1999-2004) in Kanazawa, which was awarded the 2004 Golden Lion at the Venice Architecture Biennale. Both Sejima and Niszhizawa maintain parallel individual practices that have achieved international recognition for intensely experimental work. SANAA was the recipient of the 2010 Pritzker Architecture Prize. Pedro Gadanho is a Curator in the Department of Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art, New York.