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Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Arts and Sciences Building

Fumihiko Maki & Associates

Fumihiko Maki is a disarmingly subtle architect. His buildings have the genial knack of always looking good in photographs; his lectures are cogent rationalizations without seeming radical or revolutionary. Yet reality, the haptic experience of his often diaphanous buildings, raises the game – again and again, one is presented with, and surrounded by, a remarkable spatial construct. At its best, Maki’s architecture appears to freeze its multiple components at just the right moment, exactly when they achieve some ideal inter-relationship. I am tempted to liken the architect’s skill to an imaginary art form: Zen juggling. It is of course crass of foreigners to make sweeping generalizations of classic Japanese culture. And it may be foolhardy to compare ancient sensibilities with the strategies and objectives of Japanese design today. Maki, however, whilst undeniably Japanese, is also a...

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