Get to know one of the architects behind the new Olympic Stadium
Iconic Japanese architect Kengo Kuma is one of the brains behind the design of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Stadium. Founder of Kengo Kuma and Associates, Kuma has designed impressive architectural works all around the globe. His first encounter with architecture was at the age of ten, when he visited the Yoyogi National Gymnasium—a venue used for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.
Kuma’s designs have a distinct touch. They pay homage to traditional Japanese techniques while incorporating modern elements and natural, sustainable materials. Locally-sourced wood takes center stage—many of his noteworthy projects use criss-crossed or interlocking wooden beams. He also uses unconventional and unexpected materials like bamboo, stone, and ceramics. Visitors to Kuma-designed spaces can appreciate how he masterfully manipulates light and emulates the form of ancient temples and traditional Japanese houses.
Kuma’s architectural pieces tend to blend in naturally with their environment. You can spot plenty in Tokyo (see below). Architecture buffs can choose to make a pilgrimage to the lush, forested village of Yusuhara, Kochi where he has created a number of masterpieces since the 90s. You can visit the town office, library, and art gallery, all which showcase local cedar wood and carpentry techniques.
For somewhere closer to Tokyo, pay a visit to the Kadokawa Culture Museum in Saitama—a granite edifice which houses offices, an art gallery, library, and hotel. If you're looking for a luxurious Kuma-themed getaway, stay at the Atami Kaihourou Hotel’s stunning Water/Glass Guesthouse or camp at the Snow Peak LAND STATION* in Hakuba.