Fumihiko Maki is principal of Maki & Associates in Tokyo and a 1993 recipient of the Pritzker Prize, generally considered architecture’s highest honor. Though firmly rooted in the modernist tradition, his work is renowned for fusing elements of eastern and western culture in monumental buildings that harmonize with the natural and the urban environment.
Born in Tokyo in 1928, Maki earned a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Tokyo in 1952. He spent the next year at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., then enrolled at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, earning a Master of Architecture degree.
From 1956-1963, Maki served as associate professor of architecture at Washington University, where he co-founded the Master of Urban Design Program (with Roger Montgomery) and published Investigations in Collective Form, recently re-issued by the university.
In 1960 he became a founding member of the Metabolists, an influential group of young, avant-garde Japanese architects, who viewed the growth of buildings and cities as a fundamentally organic process, analogous to branches and leaves sprouting off a tree’s central trunk. That same year also saw the opening of Maki’s very first commission, Washington University’s Steinberg Hall, home to the Gallery of Art, Art & Architecture Library and Department of Art History and Archaeology in Arts & Sciences.
In 1965, Maki returned to Japan to establish Maki & Associates. Major projects have included the National Museum of Art in Kyoto, the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium, the Tepia Science Pavilion in Tokyo, the Nippon Convention Center in Chiba, and the Keio University Shonan Fujisawa Campus.
In the United States, Steinberg Hall remained Maki’s only completed building until 1993, which saw the opening of his Yerba Buena Gardens Visual Arts Center in San Francisco. Maki completed the project in collaboration with Washington University alumnus Harish A. Shah (MArch ’73), who also serves as project architect for the Sam Fox School.
Maki’s current projects include both the $330 million United Nations expansion in Manhattan and Tower 4 at the former World Trade Center site (scheduled to open in 2008 and 2011, respectively). In addition, Maki designing an extension for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s media lab and the Aga Khan Development Network’s Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat in Ottawa, Canada.
Maki is a member of the Japan Institute of Architects and an honorary fellow of both the American Institute of Architects and the Royal Institute of British Architects. In addition to the Pritzker, his many honors include the Japan Institute of Architecture Award (1963, 1985); the Reynolds Memorial Award (1987); and UIA Gold Medal (both 1993).
At Washington University, Maki has served as the Ruth and Norman Moore Guest Visitor in Architecture and in 1987 was awarded an honorary doctorate of art and architecture. An annual guest lectureship was named in his honor.