Pritzker Prize Laureate Fumihiko Maki Passes Away at 95

Pritzker Prize Laureate Fumihiko Maki Passes Away at 95

Esteemed Japanese architect and Pritzker Prize laureate Fumihiko Maki passed away at his Tokyo home last Thursday at the age of 95. Celebrated for his modernist approach, Maki was responsible for significant works, including the 4 World Trade Center, a skyscraper at the site of the former World Trade Center in New York. Maki was recognized in the architecture industry various times, including receiving the Pritzker Prize and becoming the 67th AIA Gold Medalist. His influence in inventing a unique modernist style of Japanese origin cannot be underscored.

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Born in Tokyo in 1928, Maki’s academic journey started at the University of Tokyo, followed by advanced studies at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. He later went on to teach both architecture and urbanism at Harvard and Washington University. In fact, Maki designed his first project for Washington University in St. Louis, the Steinberg Hall arts center.

His legacy includes landmark projects, such as the Spiral Cultural Complex in Tokyo’s Aoyama district, the Mukuhari Messe Convention Center in Chiba Prefecture, and the Natural Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto. As the 67th AIA Gold Medalist, the architect was celebrated for his distinct taste in modernist style, which combined Japanese heritage with modernist principles. He frequently used a minimal material palette, including metal, concrete, and glass, prioritizing innovation in construction.

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In 1960, Maki joined the Metabolism movement alongside renowned architects Kisho Kurokawa and Kiyonori Kikutake. Five years later, upon his return to Japan, he founded his firm, Maki and Associates. Some of his other notable projects include the redevelopment of the Taipei Main Station area in Taiwan in 2016 and the Museum Reinhard Ernst in Germany in 2021.

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In 1993, Maki was awarded the prestigious Pritzker Prize, and in 2011, he received the Gold Medal from the American Institute of Architects. “Blending the best elements of Eastern and Western cultures,” Maki’s work was celebrated for its light membraneous character. In fact, this style is evident in projects like the TV Asahi Headquarters, the extension to the MIT Media Lab, and the renowned 4 World Trade Center in New York.

Most recently, the architect designed China’s first dedicated cultural design Center in Shenzhen. Seeking to enrich the design environment of Shenzhen in 2017, the institution offered a platform to global cultural institutions and fostered discussion around the design industry. Additionally, Maki and Associates designed the Aga Khan Center in London in 2018. Overall, the architect was world-renowned for his particular style and has been recognized with architecture’s highest honors.

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