Takamitsu Azuma Biography
(b Osaka, 20 Sept 1933). Japanese architect and writer. After graduating in 1957 from the School of Architecture, Osaka University, he worked for three years as a designer for the Ministry of Postal Services in Tokyo and Osaka and then joined Junzo Sakakura Architect & Associates (196067). He established his own office in Tokyo in 1967. Azumas architecture is characterized by the expression of opposing elements such as individuality and collectivity, enclosure and openness, inside and outside etc. For example, his own house, Tower House (1967), Tokyo, expresses the idea of defensive living in the modern urban setting. Standing on a tiny plot of land in the heart of the city, it has a closed concrete exterior with no windows on the street elevation; this, however, is extended outwards to the city by a slanting parapet and overhanging roof-terrace acting as transitional elements between inside and out. Inside is an ingenious sequence of spaces expressing individuality in an area of traditionally designed houses. A prolific architect, Azuma produced designs with simple and clear-cut images: for instance, in the Seijin Nursery School (1974), Kyoto, he created an open central space hidden behind walls blank except for geometric cut-outs to the street. In the 1980s he developed the theory of polyphony in architecture, the layering of different qualities of space and the juxtaposition of different materials and details. By allowing contradictory elements to co-exist he believed that the user could have maximum freedom to determine his own environment. An example of this work is the Biblical Church (1982), Tokyo, where Azuma has layered three elements in the façade, including a steel-frame screen, producing different effects from different viewpoints. Azuma was one of the five architects who formed the avant-garde group ARCHITEXT in 1971, but they worked independently, with no common design philosophy. He taught in several universities and was appointed Professor in the Department of Environmental Engineering at Osaka University in 1986.Grove Art excerpts - Electronic ©2003, Oxford Art Online
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