Name Fumihiko Maki (槇 文彦)
  Born September 6, 1928
  Nationality Japan
  Official website

A major figure in Japanese architecture since the late 1950s, Fumihiko Maki is recognized for his architectural and urban design work as well as his contributions to architectural theory. Maki’s work is characterized by his critical development of the modern model, his desire to create a contemporary urban architecture and spaces of public appearance, and his attempt to fuse design concepts of the East and West. He is known for his rational approach, intelligent combination of technology with craftsmanship, and delicate details, all of which are illustrated in projects for cultural, residential, commercial, educational as well as office, convention, and sports facilities.

Maki is one of the few Japanese architects of his generation to have studied, worked, and taught in the United States and Japan. Following his architecture studies at Tokyo University, he obtained master of architecture degrees at Cranbrook Academy of Art (1953) and the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University (1954). He worked with Skidmore, Owings and Merrill in New York (1954-55) and with Josep Lluis Sert (Sert, Jackson and Associates; 1955-58) in Cambridge, Massachusetts before establishing Maki and Associates in Tokyo in 1965. Awarded a Graham Foundation Fellowship in 1958, Maki went on two extensive research trips to Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and northern and southern Europe. Impressed by the formal and spatial organization of settlements, particularly the communities along the Mediterranean coast, Maki became interested in collective forms. Impressions from this trip led to his first urban design proposal, elaborated with Masato Otaka for the redevelopment of west Shinjuku in Tokyo—conceived not as an actual plan but as an illustration of “group form.” Maki further developed this concept in his Investigations in Collective Form, published in 1964 as one of three paradigms of collective forms. In contrast to “compositional form” and “megaform,” his “group form” is a more flexible urban organization based on a human scale in which the parts and the whole are mutually interdependent and connected through various linkages.

A member of the Metabolist movement—a group of ambitious postwar Japanese architects who advocated the embrace of new technology with a concomitant belief in architecture's organic, humanist qualities—since 1959 Maki remained at the fringe of the group, concentrating on space and the relationship between solid and void and not on schemes for entire cities based on industrial technology. His attempt at an integration of architecture and urbanism brought him close to Team X (Ten), whose meeting he attended in 1960 in southern France. Projects of the 1970s, which express his idea of loosely connected and articulated parts, human scale, and transitional spaces, include the Kato Gakuen Elementary School (1972) in Numazu and the Tsukuba University Central Building (1974). The latter already features the forms of the stepped pyramid and the cross, which play a major organizing role in the Iwasaki Are Museum (1979) as well as the YKK Guest House (1982) and Maki’s later

The project that best reflects the idea of “group form” is also his most renowned early work: the Hillside Terrace Apartment Complex in Tokyo, realized in six phases between 1969 and 1992. This residential and commercial ensemble is a rare example of a comprehensive long-term development of a large site in a Japanese city. It features a unified architectural style on an intimate human scale, with sidewalks and transitional spaces providing pedestrian access to shops and preserving privacy for the apartments on the upper levels.

Maki’s preference for collaged and fragmentary composition, similar to the layered spaces of traditional Japanese architecture and gardens, is particularly evident in the facade of the Wacoal Media Center (1985). The so-called Spiral Building echoes the heterogeneous urban context of Tokyo and, like the TEPIA Building (1989), pays tribute to icons of 20th-century architecture and Cubist art in particular. The Spiral Building also illustrates the concept of phenomenological depth (ofu): the main gallery space, surrounded by a gently sloping semicylindrical ramp, is situated at the back of the building and shielded from the street by the entrance lobby, the cafe, and gallery space. Naturally illuminated from above, it can be seen from the street entrance. An intimate relationship between the inside and the outside is created by the broad staircase that shows in the facade. It is equipped with chairs and provides a rare (nonpaying) space in Tokyo for visitors to relax and watch the street below. Maki’s
effort to relate to the particular environment of each place is further illustrated in his National Museum of Modern Art (1986) in Kyoto, the facade of which features an orthogonal pattern in tune with the traditional grid of the city as well as a symmetry, a reference to the surrounding neoclassical buildings.

Maki’s attempt at creating a public architecture in Japan, where such a concept traditionally did not exist, is obvious in his sports and convention facilities. The expressive stainless-steel roofs of the Fujisawa Municipal Gymnasium (1984), the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium (1990), and the Makuhari Convention Center (1989 and 1998) assure these buildings of a strong presence in the city. The sports complex of the Metropolitan Gymnasium at Sendagya Station forms a dynamic landscape of three major individual buildings positioned to create an overall
ensemble and connected through pedestrian spaces that provide ever-changing views of the scenery, recalling Japanese strolling gardens. Maki pays close attention not only to the overall form of the buildings but also to their structure and delicate detail, which, as he points out, give architecture its rhythm and scale.

A recurring aspect in Maki’s designs is his masterful use of light, a quality that is further developed in his works of the 1990s. The Graduate School Research Center (1994) at Keio University’s Shonan Fujisawa Campus is characterized by its transparent entrance wall and the brise-soleil of perforated aluminum panels. The Tokyo Church of Christ (1995) features a shoji-like translucent wall of light in the main hall, separating the building from the chaotic surrounding and providing a place for spiritual reflection.

Together with Arata Isozaki, Kisho Kurokawa, and Kazuo Shinohara, Maki is one of the few Japanese architects of his generation to enjoy international success and fame. His works outside Japan include the Center for the Arts (1993) at Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco, the Isar Biiropark (1995) near Munich, the Floating Pavilion (1996) in Groningen, and the projected Children’s House in Poland. Maki has been honored with numerous prizes, including the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1993.

Caroia HEIN


16 September 1928 Born in Tokyo;

1948-52 Studied in Kenzo Tange’s Research Laboratory;

1952 bachelor’s degree in architecture, Kenzo Tange’s Research Laboratory;

1952-53 attended the Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan;

1953 master’s degree in architecture, the Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan;

1954 master’s degree in architecture, the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Cambridge, Massachusetts;

1953-54 studied at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Cambridge, Massachusetts;

1954-55 Designer, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, New York;

1955-58 designer, firm of (Josep Lluis) Sert, Jackson and Associates, Cambridge;

1956-58 Assistant professor, Washington University School of Architecture, St. Louis, Missouri;

1958-60 Fellow, Graham Foundation, Chicago;

1960 Married Misao Matsumoto: 2 children;

1960-62 associate professor , Washington University School of Architecture, St. Louis, Missouri;

1962-65 associate professor, Harvard Graduate School of Design;

from 1965 principal, Maki and Associates, Tokyo;

1965-79 lecturer, department of urban design, University of Tokyo;

1967-68 visiting professor, Harvard Graduate School of Design;

1970-71 visiting professor, University of California, Berkeley;

1976 visiting critic, University of California, Los Angeles;

1976, 1984 visiting lecturer, Columbia University, New York;

1977 visiting lecturer, Technical University of Vienna;

1978-79 visiting critic, Harvard Graduate School of Design;

1979-89 professor of architecture, University of Tokyo;

1980 honorary fellow, American Institute of Architects;

1983 Eliot Noyes Visiting Professor, Harvard University;

1993 Awarded Pritzker Prize.

founder and member, Metabolist Group, Tokyo; member, Japanese Institute of Architects.


The above mentioned Fumihiko Maki: Buildings and Projects includes a text by Maki, “Notes on Collective Form,” that was originally published in Japan Architect in 1994. It also contains essays on Maki by other authors, including those by Botond Bognar and Alex Krieger mentioned below, and gives a well-illustrated and documented overview of Maki's projects, Salat and Labbé presents Maki’s work from the late 1960s to the late 1980s and includes an introductory text by Maki, Ross introduces early projects of the 1960s and 1970s in the context of Metabolism and beyond, while Munroe considers three major works of the 1980s.

Bognar, Botond, “From Group Form to Lightness,” in Fumihiko Maki: Buildings and Projects, by Fumihiko Maki, New You: Princeton Architectural Press, 1997

Casper, Dale E., Fumihiko Maki: Master Architect, Monticello, Illinois: Vance Bibliographies, 1988

Friedman, Mildred (editor), Tokyo: Form and Spirit (exhib. cat.), Minneapolis, Minnesota: Walker Art Centre, and New York: Abrams, 1986

Krieger, Alex, “(Ongoing) Investigations in Collective Form: Maki’s Quarter-of-a-Century at Hillside Terrace,” in Fumihiko Maki: Buildings and Projects, by Fumihiko Maki, New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1997

Munroe, Alexandra (editor), New Public Architecture: Recent Projects by Fumihiko Maki and Arata Isozaki (exhib. cat.), New York: Japan Society, 1985

Ross, Michael Franklin, Beyond Metabolism: The New Japanese Architecture, New York: Architectural Record, 1978

Salat, Serge and Françoise Labbé, Fumihiko  Maki: une potnqwe de la fragmentation, Milan: Electa, 1987; as Fumihiko Maki: An Aesthetic of Fragmentation, New York: Rizzoli, 1983

Thorne, Martha, et al. (editors), The Pritzker Architecture Prise: The Fine Twenty Years, New York: Abrams, 1999


Selected Publications

“Some Thoughts on Collective Form,” in Metabolism 1960 (with Otuka Masato), 160; reprinted in Stewetwre in Art and in Science, edited by Gyongy Kepes, 1965

Investigations in Collective Form, 1964

Fumihiko Maki  1: 1965-78, 1978

“Japanese City Spaces and the Concept of Oku,” " Japan Architects (May 1979)

“Modernism at the Crossroads,” Japan Architect (March 1983)

“The Public Dimension in Contemporary Architecture,” in New Public Architecture: Recent Projects by Fumihiko Maki and Arata Isozaki (exhib. cat.), 1985

Fumihiko Maki 2 1979-86, 1986

“City Image, Materiality," in Maki: Aesthetic of Fragmentation, by Serge Salat and Françoise Labbe, 1988

Fragmentary Figures: The Collected Architectural Drawings of Fumihiko Maki, 1989

Fumihiko  Maki 3: 1986-92, 1993

Fumihiko Maki: Buildings and Projects, 1997

    Isozaki, Arata (Japan); Japan; Kurokawa, Kisho (Japan); Metabolists; Shinohara, Kazuo (Japan)







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