Kuma Kengo. An Unconventional Monograph

Sophie Houdart et Minato Chihiro , Kuma Kengo. An Unconventional Monograph, 2009  |  211 pp. | 14 € | ISBN 978-2-9532093-2-7

…………………..Sophie Houdart and Minato Chihiro, Kuma Kengo. An Unconventional Monograph,
2009 | 208 pp. | 14 €
ISBN 978-2-9532093-2-7



In this book based on their ethnographic field, Sophie Houdart and Minato Chihiro offer a highly original approach to the Japanese architect Kuma Kengo and his architecture. This unconventional monograph is built on the hypothesis, both in the text and in the pictures, that if there is something recognisable in “Kuma’s architecture”, it should also be visible in the architect’s practice, in the routine and the mass of details recorded every day. What connection is there between the materiality endorsed by Kuma in his architectural philosophy and what actually takes place in the practice – the work using wood or polystyrene, paint, glue and pixels?


Introduction | Approach tactics, Flashback, The Master of the House |“Moving towards existence”, What is in the Place, Inscriptions within Inscriptions, Daily Tests to Erect the Models, Tests, FFJ the Formula | Motifs at work, Bearings  The Concept Board, Perspective Drawings,  Models, Testing the Louvers | Architecture in its environment, Programming Culture, That Which Needs to be Harmonised, The Meeting | The pragmatics of disappearance, Projecting and Convincing, Experimenting, Multiplying and Classifying, Manufacturing and Lightening , illing and Emptying, Attaching and Detaching | Epilogue. A matter of details | post-production | Apropos… by kuma kengo | References | photograph credits


Sophie Houdart (Lagny sur Marne, 1971), is an anthropologist at the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS). She is a member of the Laboratory of Ethnology and Comparative Sociology, and a specialist of Japan. Her research focuses on the various ways modernity is being built and enacted as a cultural construct in Japan, particularly in the realm of innovation and creation. She published La cour des miracles. Ethnologie d’un laboratoire japonais (Ethnology of a Japanese Laboratory, CNRS Editions, 2008) and many papers on scientific as well as architectural practices.

Minato Chihiro (Kanagawa, 1960), is an anthropologist and a photographer. He is teaching at the Department of Information Design at Tama Art University, Tôkyô. He is the author of several essays as Kioku-Sôzô to sôki no chikara (Memory-Powers of Creation and Remembering, Kodansha 1995), Eizô-ron (Moving Image Theory, NHK Shuppan, 1998), Shashin toiu dekigoto (The Photograph as Incident, Kawade Shobo Shinsha,1998) and Inframince-Duchamp in Box (with Matsuda Yukimasa, Ushiwakamaru, 2006). He also published several photography books, produced several films and documentaries, and organised many exhibitions in Japan and overseas. In 2007, he was the commissioner of the Japanese Pavilion at the 52nd Venice Biennale.