kazuyo sejima and ryue nishizawa
we met SANAA at their exhibition in the basilica palladiana,
vicenza, on the october 29th, 2005.
what is the best moment of the day?
s: just before I go to sleep, everything is finished then!
what kind of music do you listen to at the moment?
do you listen to the radio?
what books do you have on your bedside table?
s: no books, just the magazines.
do you have any preference in fashion?
s: I often wear ‘commes des garcons’.
what kind of clothes do you avoid wearing?
s: nothing in particular; what I want to wear, I wear.
do you have any pets?
n: no, we have no pets.
when you were a child, did you want to become an architect?
n: I would never have imagined myself being architect.
s: me too.
n: she wanted to be a grandmother! kind of funny!
grandmothers always look like…
s: they are relaxed.
n: happy and relaxed.
s: yes when I was a child I really wanted to be a
n: to sit on the terrace and enjoy the sunlight.
zollverein school of design, essen, germany
zollverein school of design, essen, germany (2003 – construction began 2005).
where do you work on your designs and projects?
s: basically in the office.
which project has given you the most satisfaction?
n: every project has its own satisfaction, and reflection.
and we need both to move to the next step.
who would you most like to design a building for?
s: a school, but I have no experience yet,
n: yes, she wants to build a public building for kids.
s: he wants to make a church.
do you discuss your work with other architects?
n: yes, in japanese society, we often do organized
discussions, ‘officially’ with other architects, and we try
to critic each other …
s: it is useful to have some comment.
n: yes, at architectural meetings, or at a symposium.
but also we do it sometimes at the bar…
to compliment each other (laughs).
kanazawa museum of contemporary art of the XXI century, ishikawa, japan (1999-2004).
© photo sanaa.
describe your style, like a good friend of yours would describe it…
n: coherant, consistant, always doing the same thing.
one of our contants big concerns is how to create a
relation between the inside and outside, this is very
important for us to think about.
s: and also proportion. I mean not ‘good proportion’ but
the size and if it fits into that area.
when we use glass or a screen or a concrete wall,
this depends mostly on the area.
can you describe an evolution in your work from
you first project to the present day?
n: I dont know where to start from, we founded the
SANAA office in 1995 and ten years has past since.
before most of our projects were driven by planning,
through dimensional organisation.
s: probably our interest now is more how to organise
‘a program’ within a building – the layout of rooms and how
people move inside. but also how to keep a relationship
between the ‘program’ and the outside and then how the
outside fits to the surroundings. in each project we have
different requirments and the site is different, we try to
find our way.
n: recently I feel something is getting different,
for example we are now working on the learning centre
project for the polytechnic university of lausanne in
and here we have more three dimensional changes,
located outside of the two dimensional wall.
this is what we feel recently as an evolution from
the beginning period.
is there any architects and/or designer from the past you appreciate a lot?
s: a lot.
n: le corbusier, mies van der rohe, oscar niemeyer
these are an unforgetable ‘trio’ for me.
and those still working?
n: frank gehry, rem koolhaas, alvaro siza…
s: it is difficult to rest within a few, there are so many we like.
women’s dormitory saishunkan seiyaku, kumamoto, japan (1990-91)
kazuyo sejima & associates
© photo sanaa
do you have any advice for the young?
what are you afraid regarding the future?
s: I am always afraid of the future but at the same time
I’m looking forward to it. we want to be able to contribute to it.
n: well, personally I am very worried about my future,
because don’t know what will happen!
I make plans, but you cannot predict.