Kazuyo Sejima

Kazuyo Sejima

Kazuyo Sejima is Japanese architect born on October 29, 1956 in Iberaki Prefecture, Japan. She got her master’s degree in architecture from Japan Women’s University  in 1981 and set up her own practice in 1987 with the name Kazuyo Sejima & associates. Sejima’s work soon earned national recognition and she even won award of Young Architect of the Year from the Japanese Institute of Architects in 1992. Sejima then turned her firm into SANAA (Sejima and Nishizawa and Associates) in 1995 in collaboration with Ryue Nishizawa in Tokyo but right after two years both of them started pursuing their individual practices and Sejima started working on small scale projects.

Sejima’s major concern regarding any project has always been space’s social use and its potential for adaptation. Following this very philosophy Sejima doesn’t consider any project to be completed until its inhabitants put life into it with their activities. Moreover, her buildings are best known for their clean shinny surfaces. Glass, marble, and metals are considered the pet materials used by her for almost all of her projects. Sejima’s signature style comprises of her smooth surfaced and well organized buildings accompanied with modernist elements of time. Squares and cubes are her favorite shapes of choice and can be seen excessively in almost all of her designs. Sejima is a true believer of blending outdoor spaces with building’s interior, for this reason she always incorporates large windows in her buildings developing a visual connection between indoor and outdoor spaces. It is also said that most of the times Sejima takes inspiration from site and its surroundings before starting off any project.

Sejima has worked in many countries including Germany, France, England, the Netherlands, United States, and Spain. Some of her major contributions are as follows:

  • Platform I Vacation House – Chiba, Japan (1987 to 1988)
  • Platform II Studio – Yamanachi, Japan (1988 to 1990)
  • Castelbajac Sports Store – Kanagawa, Japan (1990 to 1991)
  • Saishunkan Seiyaku Women’s Dormitory – Kumamoto, Japan (1990 to 1991)
  • N House – Kumamoto, Japan (1990 to 1992)
  • Pachinko Parlor I – Ibaraki, Japan (1991 to 1993)
  • Villa in the Forest – Nagano, Japan (1992 to 1994)
  • Pachinko Parlor II – Ibaraki, Japan (1993)
  • Y House –  Chiba, Japan (1993 to 1994)
  • Police Office in Chofu Station– Tokyo, Japan (1993 to 1994)
  • Gifu Kitagata Apartment Building – Gifu, Japan (1994 to 2000)
  • Pachinko Parlor III – Ibaraki, Japan (1995 to 1996)
  • U Office Building – Ibaraki, Japan (1996 to 1998)
  • Small House – Tokyo, Japan (1999 to 2000)
  • Kozankaku Student Residence – Ibaraki, Japan (1999 to 2000)
  • com Store – Tokyo, Japan (1999 to 2000)
  • Asahi Shimbun Yamagata Office Building – Yamagata, Japan (2000 to 2002)
  • House in a Plum Grove – Tokyo, Japan (2001 to 2003)
  • OnishiCivic Center – Gunma, Japan (2003 to 2005)
  • Theater and Artscentre – Almere, The Netherlands (2007)
  • New Museum – New York City, United States (2010)
  • Shibaura House – Tokyo, Japan (2011)
  • Louvre-Lens – Lens, France ()

Kazuyo Sejima has also made great contributions as  a professor of architecture starting her teaching career from Keio University, Tokyo. She has taught at Princeton University, the Polytechnique de Lausanne, and Tama Art University and is currently a visiting faculty at both Tama Art University and Japan Women’s University in Tokyo.

Kazuyo Sejima Buildings