Itsuko Hasegawa

Architect (1941)

For Itsuko Hasegawa, a construction must by its presence recompose what it replaces and serve as a means of communication with nature. From her earliest project developments, Itsuko Hasegawa has played with contexts and programs in her architecture. Based on the adequacy of architecture in relation to a situation, her work is nurtured by the contradictions of the surrounding world which enrich it and set up a dialog between what is built and its environment, between form and structure and between technology and nature. Thus, it is with a certain freedom in the use of forms and materials that her architecture refers to nature, an “abstracted” nature made of undulations, lightness and vibrations. Architecture becomes a landscape, a whole, a continuous, unbroken element. Itsuko Hasegawa utilizes new technologies, but always in the service of architecture that is thought out in its relation to individuals and to its natural environment. She rejects the idea of an all-powerful and gratuitous technology. It is in the relationship of sensitive intelligence between all the elements of the same project (human, natural and technological) that the power of her architecture is revealed.

A graduate in architecture from the Kanto Gakuin University of Yokohama in 1964, Itsuko Hasegawa (1941) was one of the first renowned Japanese women architects. She founded her own agency in 1979, after working in those of Kiyonori Kikutake and then Kazuo Shinohara. She designed a stationery store in 1979, then directed construction sites as diverse as a children’s clinic, a multi-purpose building and houses. With the competition for the Shonandaï Cultural Centre in Fujisawa, which she won in 1986, she earned real notoriety. She was then commissioned to do a large number of projects, such as the Sumida Culture Factory in Tokyo (1994), the Yamanashi Museum of Fruit (1992-1995), and the Fukuroi Workshop Centre (1997-2000). In 2004, Itsuko Hasegawa built the Taisei Girls’ School in Shizuoka, the town where she was born. This massive building houses vast, light-filled rooms and has a garden on the roof. In 2006 she opened the Suzu City Performing Arts Center and in 2008 made a project proposal for the University of Gunma.

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