Recently, I met with the architect Kengo Kuma for intervew on the weekly "The Professionals" program that I am hosting for NHK with Ms. Miki Sumiyoshi. It was not the first time that I met with this famous architect. However, it was the first proper and long chat, lasting for more than 4 hours, which unfortunately would be compressed into 15 minutes in the actual broadcast.
Kengo's architectural philosophy is that of "creative concessions". He criticizes the modern approach of steel and concrete for the very freedom that these materials have given the architects. When you use alternative building materials such as wood, there are numerous restrictions to which you are obliged to make concessions to. True creativity arises from these restrictions and concessions, Kengo says.
When asked what kind of architecture he would build if there was no restriction arising from the environment, materials, or budget, Kengo answered after some moments of pondering that he would discover a restriction somehow even in that case. I realized why Kengo is considered as one of the key architects in the 21st century.