Analysis of Architectural Works of SANAA

The abbreviation SANAA stands for Sejima and Nishizawa and Associates. SANAA is a firm that deals with architectural designs of buildings. It is based in Tokyo, Japan. The firm was established in the year 1995 by both Ryue Nishizawa and Kazuyo Sejima. The duo has made significant contributions into the field of architecture to the point of recognition. In the year 2010, they were jointly awarded the most prestigious architectural award, the Pritzker Architecture Award. It is in recognition of their out-of-the-ordinary work of architecture that they were honored with this prize. SANAA has several incredible designs that are credited to them. They include the Kitagata Housing Project, the Zollverein School of Management and Design, the Christian Dior building, the De Kunstlinie Theatre and CulturalCenter, the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art and the Glass Pavilion located at the Toledo Museum Art. This paper will highlight the strengths of SANAA’s architectural works and analyze why they stand out. Additionally, the paper will discuss some of the weaknesses that are portrayed in their designs.          

To begin with, SANAA is credited for being deceptively simplistic yet creative. The architectural designs of SANAA seem and look simple in stature and posture. This simplicity gives them an edge over other designers as their designs elicit wonder and awe. By removing the complexity in their designs, people are able to associate with their architectural works. For instance, the museum designed in Manhattan Lower East Side appears like a stack of boxes piled on the top of each other. The building is ingeniously disguised as simple, yet the supportive mechanisms are highly complex.

As a result of their restraints, both Ryue Nishizawa and Kazuyo Sejima have been able to design buildings that are highly economical. Their designs, besides being simplistic, make use of materials that are highly economical and sustainable. They have been able to achieve this without compromising the quality standards or ignoring the technological requirements of the buildings. As a result, their designs are highly sought after due to their cost-effectiveness. The fact that their designs make use of everyday materials incorporates the communities in areas in which they work.

Additionally, SANAA’s works are light and transparent in nature. This makes their buildings highly aesthetic and enticing to view. SANAA’s designs focus on the aesthetic value of the building to the surrounding in which it is located. It is this concern for the environment that sets SANAA’s designs on a class of its own. A good example of the aesthetic considerations of SANAA’s designs is the Glass Pavilion at the Toledo Museum of Art. The museum’s annex is its exhibition space reserved for the display of the museum’s collection of glass artifacts as well as its glass production facility. The museum is penetrated by several courtyards that have sightlines visible through the transparent walls. Therefore, apart from the museum’s collections, visitors are also treated to the lush greenery that surrounds the building. SANAA’s ability to incorporate the building design to cohesively fuse with the ambiance of the surrounding makes their buildings superior.

SANAA designs have a weakness in the sense that they fail to aptly utilize space. Most of the designs by the firm consume a lot of space. For instance, the favored box structure of such buildings as the Zollverein School of Management and Design in Germany is space extensive.  The building occupies a chunk of space that could have otherwise been utilized for other building aspects. Such space consumption is not environmentally friendly and poses the greatest challenge for SANAA.

In conclusion, SANAA has undoubtedly demonstrated its ability to design and create architectural works of unrivaled quality and standards. The firm’s ability to incorporate beauty and make use of readily available and common materials makes it a major force in the field of architecture. These are the firm’s attributes that have made it win numerous awards including the coveted Pritzker Architecture Award.