Celebrated Japanese architect Kengo Kuma delivered the Royal Academy’s 2008 Annual Architecture Lecture on 14 July. In recent years Kuma has designed a number of projects in Europe, including the Sake No Hana restaurant in London. Most of his work however remains in Asia. With their exquisite control of surface, which can be transparent, opaque, reflective, sliced or solid, his buildings offer different ways of appreciating their site and through that appreciation to engage in contemplation of ideas or objects within them. The Annual Architecture Lecture is proudly supported by John Robertson Architects and the Japanese Committee of Honour of the Royal Academy of Arts.
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In the year 2000, the American Institute of Architects asked its members to look back on the last 100 years and select the best American building of the 20th Century.
They didn’t pick a skyscraper, but chose an extraordinary house in the woods about 70 miles outside of Pittsburgh. The house is called Fallingwater and it was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Wright said he wanted his client — department store owner Edgar Kaufman— to be as close to nature as possible.
As part of our series on American Icons, we asked Peter Crimmins to visit Fallingwater and figure out what’s so special about the house.