Born in Tokyo, educated in Japan and the United States, and principal of an internationally acclaimed architectural practice, celebrated architect Fumihiko Maki brings to his writings on architecture a perspective that is both global and uniquely Japanese. Influenced by post-Bauhaus internationalism, sympathetic to the radical urban architectural vision of Team X, and a participant in the avant-garde movement Metabolism, Maki has been at the forefront of his profession for decades. This collection of essays documents the evolution of architectural modernism and Maki’s own fifty-year intellectual journey during a critical period of architectural and urban history.
Maki’s treatment of his two overarching themes—the contemporary city and modernist architecture—demonstrates strong (and sometimes unexpected) linkages between urban theory and architectural practice. Images and commentary on three of Maki’s own works demonstrate the connection between his writing and his designs. Moving through the successive waves of modernism, postmodernism, neomodernism, and other isms, these essays reflect how several generations of architectural thought and expression have been resolved within one career.
About the Author
Fumihiko Maki is one of Japan’s most prolific and distinguished architects, in practice since the 1960s. His works include projects in Japan, North and South America, Europe, and Asia. He received the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1993. His current works include the World Trade Center Tower 4 in New York City.
“Tokyo-born Maki collects 21 wise, enlightening essays on the theory, practice and product of modern urban architecture. Throughout, Maki's style is clear, simple and confident; he has near-global knowledge of architectural history and culture, but never overreaches...Students and professionals will find Maki a smart and trustworthy source, and Maki's straightforward style should accommodate general readers with a genuine interest.”—Publisher's Weekly
“Fumihiko Maki’s essays demonstrate how a gifted architect absorbs divergent influences—lessons of mentors, pivotal academic and professional debates, travel observations, and reflections on his own culture—and transforms them into material for his own creative process. By turns, his sense of curiosity and wonder, his rigorous analytical mind, and his keen appreciation of everyday urban life reveal themselves in these pages as the basis for conceiving and implementing extraordinary design ideas.”
—Andrea Leers, Architect, Leers Weinzapfel Associates Architects, and Adjunct Professor, Department of Architecture, Harvard Graduate School of Design
“Maki's elegant essays blend intellectual autobiography, a distinguished insider's view of the development of postwar Japanese architecture, and insightful theorizing on architectural and urban form. At a moment when major projects by Maki are making their appearance in the United States, the publication of these essays in collected form is particularly timely and welcome.”
—William Mitchell, Program in Media Arts and Sciences, MIT, and author of World's Greatest Architect
“In part a sensitive memoir of the cities of his childhood and youth and in part a mature reflection on the triumphs and limits of architecture and urban planning in the late modern world, this collection of lucid essays by the distinguished cosmopolitan architect Fumihiko Maki testifies to the fact that today we are all citizens of the same world, moved by very similarspiritual pleasures and by equally comparable environmental threats.”
—Kenneth Frampton, Ware Professor of Architecture, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation, Columbia University
Winning entry, Professional Illustrated Category, in the 2009 New England Book Show sponsored by Bookbuilders of Boston