Fumihiko Maki, Japanese Architect of Form and Light

b. 1928

Fumihiko Maki, designer of Four World Trade Center, at opening ceremony in 2013, New York City
Fumihiko Maki, designer of Four World Trade Center, at opening ceremony in 2013, New York City. Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images News/Getty Images

The long career of Prizker Laureate Fumihiko Maki spans two cultures, East and West. Born in Tokyo, Maki helped develop modern Japanese thoughts on urban architecture while still a student in the United States. His architecture has won multiple prizes and awards, influencing urban design from Tokyo to New York City and beyond. He has been called "a master of space-shaping and a sorcerer of light."


Born: September 6, 1928 in Tokyo, Japan

Education and Professional Beginnings:

  • 1948-1952: Kenzo Tange Research Lab, University of Tokyo, Japan
  • 1952: Bachelor of Architecture, University of Tokyo, Japan
  • 1953: Master of Architecture, Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, USA
  • 1954: Master of Architecture, Harvard Graduate School of Design, Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Apprenticeships: studied with Jose Luis Sert at Sert, Jackson & Associates, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM), New York City
  • 1956-1963: Faculty, Washington University School of Architecture, St. Louis, Missouri
  • 1960: Co-founder of Metabolism Movement
  • 1965: Returned to Japan to establish Maki and Associates in Tokyo

Selected Works:

  • 2013: 51 Astor Place, New York City
  • 2014: Aga Khan Museum, Toronto, Canada
  • 2018: United Nations Consolidation Building, New York City

Significant Awards:

  • 1993: Pritzker Architecture Prize
  • 1993: International Fellowship, Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)
  • 1994: Arnold Brunner Memorial Prize, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • 2011: Gold Medal, American Institute of Architects (AIA)

Maki In His Own Words:

"Collective form represents groups of buildings and quasi-buildings -- the segment of our cities. Collective form is, however, not a collection of unrelated, separate buildings, but of buildings that have reasons to be together. Cities, towns, and villages throughout the world do not lack in rich collections of collective form. Most of them have, however, simply evolved: they have not been designed."—1964, "Investigations in Collective Form," p. 5

"Maki has described creation in architecture as 'discovery, not invention...a cultural act in response to the common imagination or vision of the time.'"—1993 Pritzker Jury Citation

"Tokyo, because of its capacity to meet all kinds of external demands and pressures for change, is continuously a seductive and exciting place for the creation of something new. The city simply excites the minds of architects and artists. At the same time, however, Tokyo stands as a sober reminder of what one would not do and should not. So many changes have been enacted in the name of progress but at the expense of the city's rich cultural legacy. Tokyo, in this respect, continues to serve me as example and teacher for the navigation of a future course."—Fumihiko Maki, Pritzker Ceremony Acceptance Speech, 1993

Writings by Fumihiko Maki:

  • Metabolism 1960: Proposals for a New Urbanism
  • "Investigations in Collective Form," Washington University School of Architecture, 1964 (PDF)
  • Mie-Gakure Suru Toshi (The City of the Unseen) by Fumihiko Maki, 1980
  • Fumihiko Maki: Buildings and Projects, Princeton Architecture Press, 1997
  • Nurturing Dreams: Collected Essays on Architecture and the City by Fumihiko Maki, MIT Press, 2008
  • Fumihiko Maki by Fumihiko Maki, Kenneth Frampton, Mark Mulligan, David Stewart, Phaidon, 2009

Sources for this Profile: Museum Architecture, Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis, text by Robert W. Duffy [accessed August 28, 2013]; Projects, Maki and Associates website [accessed August 30, 2013].