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What's SANAA

SANAA is about he and she

Her name is Kazuyo Sejima. She likes experiments, wears baggy suits and smokes a lot. She has been the first female curator of the Architecture Sector during the Venice Biennale 2010.

His name is Ryue Nishizawa. An experimenter, like her. We think, he created an ideal house for those who suffer from claustrophobia. It's a five-story vertical garden without walls.

In 1995, he and she founded SANAA, the architectural studio based in Tokyo. In 2010 they won the Pritzker Prize.

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SANAA is the educational center that resembles cheese

Rolex Learning Center is 20 000 sq. m. and the Alps as a neighbour. Almost no walls. Almost no straight lines. Just holes, like in Swiss cheese. They are for 14 courtyards, so it's hard to say where nature ends and the architecture begins. Amazing and energy-efficient, because of natural light.

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The spaces are at different heights. Like valleys, plains and hills in the nature, there're the areas for reading, spherical rooms for seminars and a library with 500 000 volumes. Elevators are also nonordinary, and placed under a slope. Despite the openness of the interior space, changing the heights makes inner spaces visually and acoustically autonomous. Nobody disturbs.

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SANAA as kiddie's building blocks and chameleons

The studio likes simplicity and builds houses as children do. The New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York is made up of 7 white "cubes" placed on top of each other. The architects decorated the building with metal panels. Depending on how the light falls, the museum like a chameleon changes color from white to gray.

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SANAA as cloud buildings

Every year one famous designer creates a summer pavilion for the Serpentine gallery. In 2009, SANAA hung a large mirror cloud with a metal roof over London. But it wasn't the end of SANAA's cloud story. In Naoshima, the architects hid a bike park under a cloud. A white translucent pavilion consists of four-meter hemispheres on a wooden frame.

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SANAA is a new Louvre

Not in Paris, but in Lance (a city in France). Not with classical columns, but made of steel and glass. SANAA would not be SANAA if they didn't make a translucent roof letting the natural light fill in. Another peculiar mark of the architects was cladding. Aluminum sheets like a mirror reflected the environment making the building the part of nature.

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SANAA like sugar in coffee

Their buildings dissolve in the environment. And not only the buildings. Kazuyo Sejima designed a Japanese commuter train with semi-transparent and mirrored surfaces that is invisible to passers-by.

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SANAA is Dior and glass

A mod fashion market in Tokyo is a glass box. It's breathtaking and makes you stop, but without a decorative circus. Everything, as SANAA likes: minimalism, a lot of glass and nothing superfluous.

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