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Modern Living

Test your Design IQ

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MANILA, Philippines - Who is the multi-awarded Japanese architect whose works are known for making magic with materials and light?  Some of his works include the Kiro-San Observatory, the Great Bamboo Wall House in Beijing, the Suntory office building in Tokyo, Water/Glass, and the LVMH Group Headquarters in Japan.

He was born in Kamagawa, Japan, and completed his master’s degree at the University of Tokyo in 1979.  He studied at Columbia University as a visiting scholar from 1985 to 1986, and established his own studio in Tokyo in 1990.

With his goal to “recover the tradition of Japanese buildings” and reinterpret it for the 21st century,” his work has become known for its play on light and shadow, of physical response to materials, of flexibility, and specific reactions to specific sites.

Wood, glass, bamboo, stone, plastic, and metal all enter his hands as mundane entities and emerge with heightened identities.  He himself has noted that “the most interesting architectural possibility is living in contact with materials.”

Among his major works are the Kirosan Observatory, which won the JCD Design Award for Cultural/Public Institutions in 1995; Water/Glass, which won the AIA DuPont Benedictus Award; Noh Stage in the Forest, which garnered the AIA Institute of Japan Award, and the Yushura Visitor’s Center, which won the grand prize in the Regional Design Award for Kochi Prefecture in 1997.

His work with materials has also brought him international acclaim. The Nakagawa Machi Bato Hiroshige Museum won the Togo Murano and AIA Awards in 2001; while the Stone Museum in Italy topped the International Stone Architecture Award also in the same year.  He was honored with the Spirit of Nature Wood Architecture Award in Finland in 2001, and the Marble Architecture for the Nagasaki Prefectural Art Museum in 2005.

He also has done several solo exhibitions, and shared his design philosophy and knowledge with books like Goodbye Postmodern—11 American Architects in 1989, Anti Object in 2000, The Origins of Materials in 2008, and Kyokai: A Japanese Technique for Articulating Space in 2010.

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Text your answer to 0917-9498721 with your name and address. One winner will be chosen through a raffle of texts with the correct answer. The winner will receive P2,000 worth of SM gift certificates for use at Our Home, SM Department Store, or SM Supermarket. They can claim their prize at Our Home in SM Megamall. Call the store manager at 634-1950, 634-1943. Bring photocopies of two valid IDs and a clipping of the Design Quiz issue in which you appear as winner.

Last week’s question: Who is the Australian chef, restaurateur and food writer who developed the Kitchen Garden program in Australian public schools that educate eight to 12-year-old children on how to grow, cook, and share fresh food to promote healthy eating habits?

Answer: Stephanie Alexander

Winner: Shirley G. Bigcas of Caloocan City

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