In Memoriam: Fumihiko Maki

Fumihiko Maki was honored with the Japan Society Award at Japan Society’s 2004 Annual Dinner. © George Hirose

Japan Society notes with sadness the passing of internationally acclaimed architect Fumihiko Maki at the age of 95.

In 2004, Mr. Maki was honored with the Japan Society Award for his commitment and dedication to a broad creative vision fusing Eastern and Western cultures. “The ultimate aim of architecture is to create spaces to serve society,” Mr. Maki wrote at that time, “and in order to achieve this, the architect must understand human activities from the standpoints of history, ecology, and changing trends.” Mr. Maki’s outstanding work illustrated his active practice in the service of architecture and humanity, and demonstrated a deep and lasting contribution to U.S.-Japan relations.

Widely recognized as one of Japan’s most influential architects, Mr. Maki was a prolific and forthright proponent of modern architecture whose buildings combined a traditionally Japanese aesthetic sensibility with the use of modern technology and materials. He was the recipient of numerous awards, including the Pritzker Architecture Prize (1993), the UIA gold Medal (1993), the Prince of Wales Prize in Urban Design (1993), the Arnold Brunner Memorial Prize in Architecture (1999), the Praemium Imperiale (2000), the AIA Gold Medal (2011) and many others. Among his most notable projects are the National Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto, Tokyo’s Spiral building, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco and 4 World Trade Center in New York. He also designed the Makuhari Messe exhibition hall in Chiba and the Hillside Terrace Complex in Tokyo.

In an article published in Japan Society’s Newsletter in March 1998, Mr. Maki wrote: “We must always remember that architecture takes on a life of its own within society. Architecture can greet us warmly, or it can nag us, asking how things have come to pass. That is not all. it is time that offers the ultimate evaluation of architecture.” Mr. Maki, we celebrate your work and your memory.

In 1994, a year after he won the Pritzker Architecture Prize, Fumihiko Maki gave a lecture at Japan Society on “The Philosophy and Works of a Master Modernist Architect.” © Gregory Cherin
Fumihiko Maki and his wife, with Hideyuki Takahashi (right), President and CEO, Nomura Holding America, Inc. and Vice Chairman, Japan Society, at the 2004 Japan Society Annual Dinner. © George Hirose