Praemium Imperiale 1999


Fumihiko Maki

Fumihiko Maki is finally a prophet in his own land. Having capped the Pritzker Prize and the UIA Gold Medal simultaneously in 1993, the most moderate of the Nipponese moderns has been decorated with the Praemium Imperiale by the Japan Art Society. Instituted in 1989 under the auspices of the imperial family and funded by private sponsors, this award has demonstrated its international scope by lauding architects like Frank Gehry or Álvaro Siza. Maki now augments his country’s share of awardees and stretches a generational bridge between the two other Japanese who hold an Imperiale: Kenzo Tange and Tadao Ando. Working from Tokyo since 1965, the new winner adhered to metabolist principles, and though his sensible sculptural modernity distanced him from the movement’s more utopian facets, he gave its ideology the concept of ‘group-forms,’ materialized in the university campus of Rissho. Removed from all stylistic extremisms, works such as the National Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto and the Metropolitan Gymnasium in Tokyo are exquisite oases of order in the vigorous urban chaos of Japan’s metropolises.

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