Sanaa founders are mrs. Kazuyo Sejima and mr. Kazuyo Sejima.
Based in Tokyo, SANAA designs highly aesthetic and experimental buildings in Japan, Europe and USA. The white, ethereal architecture of SANAA has to many people, become synonymous with contemporary Japanese architecture.
SANAA was founded in 1995 by Kazuyo Sejima (born 1956), and Ryue Nishizawa (born 1966), a former employee at Kazuyo Sejima and Associates. In 1997, Ryue Nishizawa also founded his own office, Ryue Nishizawa and Associates, and to this day both architects work on individual projects outside of SANAA.
SANAAs work includes a large number of successful public buildings, such as the New Museum and the Rolex Learning Center, but the architects also experiment with housing designs to shape and change our daily life, especially in their individual practices (see for example Moriyama House).
In spite of their whiteness, the buildings of SANAA are very far from modernist architecture, as the architects continue to incorporate elements of doubt and ambiguity into their works. The extensive use of glass in SANAA’s architecture has quite a different effect than seen in most glass buildings, as SANAA uses the glass to create reflections and layered spaces with unclear boundaries. Also, the architects tend to use playful elements in their architecture, adding a note of humor to the experience.
SANAA fourth dimension
SANAA is often said to work with a ‘fourth dimension’ in their design of space. This is to say that the complexity of their buildings always contain traits that cannot be explained or communicated via drawings or photos. The touch of humor, the spatial ambiguity and the use of reflections all demand that you visit the buildings to really understand them.
Kazuyo Sejima (妹島 和世Sejima Kazuyo, born 29 October 1956) is a Japanese architect. She is known for designs with clean modernist elements such as slick, clean, and shiny surfaces made of glass, marble, and metals. She also uses squares and cubes, which can be found in her designs in various degrees. Large windows allow natural light to enter a space and create a fluid transition between interior and exterior. It is this connection of two spaces from which she draws her inspiration.
Kazuyo Sejima, along with and Ryue Nishizawa, has worked on several projects in Germany, Switzerland, France, England, the Netherlands, United States, and Spain. Many of their designs like the Rolex Learning Center at EPFL the New Museum in the Bowery District in New York City as well as the Glass Pavilion for the Toledo Museum of Art involve glass and public open space to interact with the world around the architecture. Such design elements can be found abundantly in their designs.
In 2010, Sejima was the second woman to receive the Pritzker Prize, which was awarded jointly with Ryue Nishizawa.