For Ryue Nishizawa, the “mechanism” and the component parts of anything built must be as clear as possible, in order to be immediately understood. The quest for an evident “architectural principle” was undertaken in his earliest projects, in the Weekend House (Usui-gun, 1988), for example. If the A House (Tokyo, 2006) and the Moriyama House (Tokyo, 2005) organize a set of cubes of varying proportions based on relatively regular alignments, the Towada Art Center, located in a small town in northern Japan, disperses its sixteen pavilions in a seemingly random manner. In this scattered arrangement, Nishizawa gives intervals a major role: the architect tries to create a “social” environment where the hierarchy of household and public spaces is conceived first of all through the relation that is established between them. The intervals multiply the number of framings, ambiguities and circulations, all those “obstacles” which, according to the architect, give structure to the density of the space produced. If the architect starts out from function to create a building, the idea is that the building itself can dictate new functions by the use which will be made of it. So the apartment buildings designed for Ichikawa (2001) and for Yokohama (2002) dissolve all rigidity by the diversity of the spaces proposed. Accessibility, openness and flexible uses represent the major conceptual themes of Ryue Nishizawa’s work.
Born in Tokyo, Ryue Nishizawa obtained a master’s degree at the National University in Yokohama in 1990, then worked first for Kazuyo Sejima & Associates, before, in 1995, with Kazuyo Sejima herself, creating the SANAA agency, and in tandem, in 1997, the office of Ryue Nishizawa. Today he teaches as an Associate Professor at the National University in Yokohama, and works on a regular basis at the universities of Princeton and Harvard. Among his works we should mention the Moriyama House (Tokyo, 2005), the A House (Tokyo,2006), the Towada Art Center, the Teshima Museum (under construction), and apartment buildings designed for Ichikawa (2001) and Yokohama (2002). His works produced at the SANAA agency were awarded the Pritzker prize in 2010.