The architect of this project, Kazuyo Sejima, makes up half of the celebrated Japense firm Sanaa. When she’s not alongside architect Ryue Nishizawa leading Sanaa, one of the most influential firms practicing today , she’s leading her own firm to realize projects just as compelling, but on a smaller scale. Shibaura House, the project above, is such a project from her office.
It’s hard to tell from the exterior (although there is at least one hint: the slender, curving staircase) but the otherwise blocky and transparent building is softened by geometries that snake through the project’s white steel skeleton. The curves create a variety of spaces that you can see in the fantastic line drawing at the top. I’m usually not a big fan of curves, but these really help this project. Of course, in less capable or less resolute hands, these curves could be conceived and executed terribly. So what makes Sejima so good? I once met a tall and sturdy-looking employee of Sanaa who described Sejima as being “ballsy.” I thought he meant her projects were daring, but when I asked him what he meant, he said “Sejima has bigger balls than I do.”