Working with SANAA architects: an academic experience


It is one of the best architectural firms in the world. Its works are successful and have become landmarks not only in the world of design but also in the realm of style. That is why being able to work with SANAA is a significant achievement to be proud of.

Who are SANAA?

SANAA is the acronym for Sejima and Nishizawa and Associates, a multiple award-winning architectural firm based in Japan, in Tokyo. It was founded by the architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa in 1995. In less than 30 years of activity, the firm won the Golden Lion in 2004 for the most significant work in the 9th International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale.

Sejima and Nishizawa were awarded the Pritzker Prize in 2010. It is an international architecture award presented every year to living architect or architects that combine talent, vision and commitment. For its prestige, the Pritzker Prize is often referred to as the Nobel Prize of architecture. 


What are the projects of SANAA?


SANAA architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa have crafted internationally renowned projects that stand out particularly for their white tones and the lightness of the buildings. Their style has strong roots in the Japanese culture from which they originate, but it is by no means foreign to the context in which it is applied.

Among their works we can include:

  • the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York;
  • the Toledo Museum of Art’s Glass Pavilion in Toledo (Ohio, USA);
  • the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa (Japan); 
  • the Louvre-Lens Museum in Lens (France);
  • the Serpentine Pavilion in London;
  • the Rolex Learning Center at EPFL in Lausanne (Switzerland);
  • the New Bocconi University Campus in Milan (Italy);
  • the Christian Dior Building in Omotesandō, Tokyo (Japan).


What materials are used in SANAA architecture?


On the occasion of the 2010 Pritzker Prize, the jury that awarded SANAA emphasised the ability to create an architecture “that is simultaneously delicate and powerful, precise and fluid, ingenious but not overly or overtly clever.” 

SANAA architectural firm is a master in realising curvaceous buildings characterised by almost invisible walls. At the same time, buildings and spaces are clearly visible and their presence is felt. 

Glazing cladding is a main feature in SANAA architecture. It is a way to express minimalism and modernity. In some cases, glass facades take centre stage in the construction. In others, they are a part of the overall ensemble, as demonstrated by the new Bocconi Campus in Milan, where expanded metal plays a vital role.

The Campus glazing cladding is in fact covered by an expanded metal mesh shaped to form waves which makes the impact almost imperceptible and ensures transparency and shading. To meet the light and airy vision of the SANAA architects, up to 6-metres-long panels were created, with varying width and depth

The panels which create the mesh are self-supporting. In addition to it, the walkaways on every floor are also made of expanded metal to guarantee the best transparency and to avoid a heavy visual impact.   

The final result is a work particularly appreciated not only by experts and professionals but also by users and visitors. It is undoubtedly a work that highlights an international academic reality.


What is the style of SANAA architecture?


Delicate and powerful, fluid and precise, clever and ingenious: these are the preferred adjectives to describe SANAA architecture. Their buildings interact with the surrounding context and create a rich experience for users and visitors. 

  • Transparency and lightness. They frequently incorporate expansive glass facades and open spaces to cultivate a sense of transparency and lightness. 
  • Simple geometries. The firm commonly employs uncomplicated geometric shapes. This commitment to simplicity enhances the overall clean and modern aesthetic of their designs.
  • Spatial ambiguity. SANAA architectural concepts often play with spatial perception, leading to dynamic and captivating architectural experiences.
  • Integration with surroundings. SANAA architects consistently aim to integrate designs harmoniously with the surrounding environment, whether in urban or natural settings.
  • Innovative use of materials. The firm engages in the inventive utilisation of materials, such as glass and expanded metal, to achieve specific aesthetic and functional objectives. uses cookies. Some cookies are necessary for the proper functioning of the site, while others are used to analyze site traffic. By selecting all cookies, you voluntarily consent to the processing of the mentioned data.
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