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What is SHIBAURA HOUSE for Kazuyo Sejima?

I: Lastly, I want to ask you about the role of SHIBAURA HOUSE for you. Where does it stand in your view?

S: It is important for me to make a kind of space with a sense of continuity when you enter the building, no matter whether that is a public space or a private house. For example, a private house where you can feel the presence of an entire family, or a museum where you feel the totality of the space. This is hard to achieve in an office building because it has to be divided with floors. SHIBAURA HOUSE has a sense of unity where we can feel the presence of people in various places - and yet it is an office building. There is usually an idea of what an office building should be, but I think, through SHIBAURA HOUSE, we can think about what a future office building could be.

If you only focus on one space, it will tend to complete itself. Architecture with a feeling of continuity within the building, not completing itself, and at the same time relating to the outside - it is very difficult to achieve these two things at the same time, but SHIBAURA HOUSE seems to do that. At a glance, the design doesn’t appear to be very elaborate, but there are many challenges within it. For example all the steel is pure. In that respect, I think it is representative of my style. There is attention to detail, though these things don’t stand out. And there is a sense of unity, but both form and function fragment and expand beyond the building.

I: It makes total sense.

S: This is difficult to achieve in an office building, but SHIBAURA HOUSE’s multi-functionality goes beyond an office building.

I: We also started from defying the conventional functions that people expect to find in an office building. So it didn’t begin with the framework of offices. The result is partly used as an office but that is about it. With your great architecture we are always thinking of how to enjoy ways to maximize our potential. We want to continue not only to use it ourselves, but to include the people around us.

Kazuyo Sejima

After studying at Japan Women's University and working at the office of Toyo Ito, she founded Kazuyo Sejima and Associates in 1987. In 1995, she founded the Tokyo-based firm SANAA with Ryue Nishizawa. Recent works include Umebayashi House, Inujima “Art house Project”, the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa *, ROLEX learning center*, Louvre Lens*. Sejima was also appointed as the director of 12th Venice Architecture Biennale. She has been awarded numerous prizes including the Architectural Institute of Japan Award and the Pritzker Prize. *works by SANAA.