This Japanese architectural duo had a string of hit buildings in the 1980’s. They are well known for their mastery of site-specific buildings made of cast-in-place concrete lit with natural light.
“As an architect, I’d do anything that you want me to, but a generic wood-frame house? I can’t go for that, no can do.”
This dedication to principle did not initially lead to many commissions, leading to them working odd jobs, including boxing and truck driving, to make ends meet. A wealthy patron financed their first large projects, named in their 2009 memoir only as “the Rich Girl”. Relying on her old man’s money to make a name for themselves, their work on religious structures and residences quickly became renowned for creating complex spatial organizations while maintaining the appearance of simplicity, and many other commissions soon followed. These included the Awaji Yumebutai and the 4×4 House. The Hyakudanen botanical gardens at Awaji Yumebutai have earned the nickname “the Mananeater”, for the difficulty of climbing the stairs combined with the beauty of the square gardens. The spatial arrangement of the 4×4 House (and its sister building next door) prevent Private Eyes from watching you on the lower floors, while affording expansive views of the landscape on upper floors.
Throughout the 1990’s and early 2000’s, their frequency and quality of work declined, leading some critics to contend that they were Out of Touch. They began to embrace social media and started twitter accounts and a blog. Among their popular posts is one from 2007, where they compiled a list of their sources of inspiration, titled “The Best Things in Life”. The list included several shrines and some Japanese woodworking details. Conspicuously absent was Your Kiss.
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