From The Sublime To the Meticulous

Japan's Fumihiko Maki, the greatest living modernist, wins architecture's de facto Nobel Prize

The most celebrated architects tend toward extremism, stylistically speaking. It is the novelty and even freakishness of their visions that get them noticed in the first place, and followers of middle roads are usually middling talents. Fumihiko Maki is that rare designer whose buildings are decorous but also fetchingly strange, a little dreamlike. His rather subtle work has never got as much press as has the work of his more voguish Japanese peers Arata Isozaki and Tadao Ando (whose buildings are, respectively, Tokyo-by-way-of- Holl ywood lollapaloozas and ascetic Zen bunkers), but now that inequity seems moot: this week Maki was to...

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