Fumihiko Maki on Conscious Design

It’s undeniable our structures have changed drastically in style and material over the last century. Without a doubt, they will continue to change. In accordance with the grander evolution of our species—the houses, buildings, and skyscrapers that surround us act like a looking glass for how far we’ve come, and where we’re going.

A leader in modernist architecture and human-centered or “conscious” design, Fumihiko Maki is a poster child in his field for embracing technology and how it relates to form. Speaking volumes to his Japanese heritage and inspiration from mentors such as Kenzō Tange, his style is minimal and free of “unnecessary forms or textures.”

Fumihiko Maki’s modernist structures can be observed across the world. Some of his most notable pieces include the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, New York’s Four World Trade Center, the Tokyo Spiral and Kyoto’s National Museum of Modern Art. Across all of these structures, there is an observed integration of glass, concrete and metal, as well as a paradoxical impression of solitude and togetherness. This impression can only be further explained by his ethos of human-centricity, and his devotion to build structures that are informed by “common and particular [human] behaviors.”

Maki speaks more on this in a recent short film created by PLANE—SITE, a global agency working at the interface of urban form, cultural space and social life. The video is one of many in their series, TIME SPACE EXISTENCE.

the author

Jac Sanscartier

Jac is an innovation analyst at Idea Couture. She is based in Toronto, Canada.