This had been a big year for 42-year-old Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto. He has been the focus of a special design charrette at Rome's Maxxi Museum and then awarded the prestigious commission for the Serpentine Pavilion in London. Now he been awarded the 2013 Marcus Prize. The prize awarded by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's School of Architecture and supported but the Marcus Corporation Foundation is meant to recognize an architect "on a trajectory to greatness." The jury, on which I served along with SOM partner Brian Lee, IIT Chair Donna Robertson, Milwaukee Dean Robert Greenstreet, architect Mo Zell, and David Marcus of Marcus Investments, spent a day reviewing nearly twenty portfolios of young and emerging firms from around the world. The bi-annual award, which has a generous international perspective, has in recent years been awarded to Diébédo Francis Kéré, Kéré Architecture (2012), Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena (2010), Frank Barkow (2007), and MVRDV's Winny Moss (2005). The winner is awarded $100,000 and asked to return to the Milwaukee architecture school and run a design studio with selected students. It might be argued that Fujimoto is not really an emerging architect, but one who has arrived after receiving the Serpentine commission and there were many very strong candidates who equally deserved the prize, but the jury believed the Japanese architect would bring the freshest perspective to the University student body and the city of Milwaukee where he will engage in public workshops and lectures. Both the University and the Marcus Foundation should be congratulated for creating and running this important prize.
Posts tagged with "Sou Fujimoto":
London's Serpentine Art Gallery has just announced that it has chosen Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto to design its annual summer garden pavilion in 2013. This much sought after commission has been designed in the past by Zaha Hadid (2000), Oscar Niemeyer (2003), Rem Koolhaas/Cecil Balmond/Arup (2006), Frank Gehry (2008), SANAA (2009), and last year by Hertzog & de Meuron with Ai Wei Wei. The Koolhaas inflatable bubble pavilion was the site of constant discussions led by Hans Ulrich Obrist but most are simpler cafes of pure pleasure (the main gallery was originally a tea house) and whimsy like last year's installation which was made of smoky smelling cork with a pond on its roof which usually had ducks serenely floating in the water. Fujimoto's pavilion will be a cloud-like structure constructed of a lattice of steel poles and is described by Fujimoto in his official press statement: "For the 2013 Pavilion I propose an architectural landscape: a transparent terrain that encourages people to interact with and explore the site in diverse ways. Within the pastoral context of Kensington Gardens, I envisage the vivid greenery of the surrounding plant life woven together with a constructed geometry. A new form of environment will be created, where the natural and the man-made merge; not solely architectural nor solely natural, but a unique meeting of the two. "The Pavilion will be a delicate, three-dimensional structure, each unit of which will be composed of fine steel bars. It will form a semi-transparent, irregular ring, simultaneously protecting visitors from the elements while allowing them to remain part of the landscape. The overall footprint will be 350 square- metres and the Pavilion will have two entrances. A series of stepped terraces will provide seating areas that will allow the Pavilion to be used as a flexible, multi-purpose social space." The temporary pavilion will open to the public on June 8, 2013 and will remain in Kensington Gardens until October 20.
I just finished my day of judging the Civic and Community session of the WAF in Barcelona. The festival competition is divided into sixteen categories, with each session winner going into a final round to determine the Building of the Year. My session’s jurors included the Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto and the Canadian (now living in London) Renato Benedetti, and we spent the day working our way through 14 entries, including the new British Embassy in Algiers by John McAslan + Partners, and a fine Mexican church and community center by Sordo Madaleno Arquitectos. In my mind, however, two projects stood out from the rest. The first was a fantastic woolly-mammoth-like bar built of long arching bamboo poles and covered with what looked like palm fronds. But since the project, nWn Bar by Vo Trang Nghia Co., is a cafe and pub, we questioned the designers about how it fit into the theme of a civic or community building. The designers conferred, and then explained that they built a model of the project, which they donated to a community library; the bar is also “free to enter,” they said. That didn’t cut it, so we moved on to other projects. The second project I supported—and the one that was my favorite—was the Emergency Terminal in Zagreb, Croatia by Produkcija 004. It’s a civic building that, while not publicly accessible, serves as the headquarters for the city’s emergency response teams. It has car parking for ambulances, beds for workers, and, in case of national emergency, cold storage facilities for antibiotics and vaccines. The building itself is wrapped in a stretched polymer fabric that allows all the structure’s functions to be read on the facade, and is ablaze at night with fluorescent light. I really like the building, and helped push it through to the next round, but the jury decided to give special commendation to two small, exquisite projects: a wonderfully appropriate Reconstructionist Congregation synagogue in Evanston, Illinois by Ross Barney Architects and La Cisnera Community Center on the Spanish island of Tenerife by GPY Arquitectos. On my way out of the assembly hall to yet another drinks party, I ran into several journalists who confirmed the rumor that the two women in the running to direct the upcoming architecture biennale are indeed Kazuyo Sejima and New York’s own Liz Diller. Many are placing their money on Sejima to get the prize, but I am campaigning for our own Liz. Go Liz!