Wolf Prize Laureate in Chemistry 2022
Momoyo Kaijima & Yoshiharu Tsukamoto
“for their work that highlights the importance to architecture of its ethnographic and inhabitational characteristics, in their writings and practice”.
At a time of considerable world change, when social and cultural values have been questioned, these three are outstanding in challenging norms to advance the field of architecture and its wider influence. Whilst very different in their production, they share a common vital quality of bringing research, pedagogy and practice into critical confluence for the advancement of their field. In doing so, they reveal the degree to which art, science, and engagement with society, require values that can be interrogated and challenged, as a central part of their contribution. Conscious of the wider affects of architecture, each recipient embodies the idea of collaboration in varied ways, embracing geographic, cultural and methodological differences to be celebrated: excellence through diversity. With their radical architectural visions, they continue to be meaningful influencers of future architectural generations. They have developed the agency of architecture through an expanded field, in engaging politics, the city as the base for social action, and the imperative of reaching broader audiences.
Momoyo Kaijima is Tokyo-born and completed her Architecture degree at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, at which she later received her doctorate, as well. Today Kaijima is a Prof. of Architectural Behaviorology at ETH Zurich.
Kaijima and Tsukamoto fostered their partnership after joining forces in competitions where they achieved many successes—so much so—that they decided to found Atelier Bow-Wow in which they continue to thrive.
The prolific work of this Japanese architectural team spans over three decades. They begin each architectural project with observation: the site, those who will eventually inhabit the building, the behavior of the people in the surroundings, shared spaces, resources, and climate. With all this in mind, they will then try to push “that which exists” a bit further to create a new phenomenon.
Since 1992 when Tsukamoto and Kaijima founded their practice, they have consistently shown themselves to be exceptional practitioners, bridging the relationship between research and practice, proposing alternative ways of making architecture focused on its social affects. With the publication of ‘Made In Tokyo’ (2001) the pioneering “Behaviorology” (2010) and ‘Architectural Ethnography’ (2018), they have developed a treatise on how to translate the liminal and in-between spaces of the city into opportunities for public engagement. With a practice that is predominantly residential and adeptly made, their work on behavior gives dominance to design strategies that work bottom-up, looking at human rituals as the basis for design opportunities. This was further tested in their post 2011 tsunami project reconstructing Momonoura village. They have profoundly influenced younger generations alternative human-centered approaches to the urban environment.