"I wanted to go to a place that wasn't neat and tidy, somewhere dangerous. I was bored, and it had something to do with the era and something to do with myself too."

In a recent letter to fellow architect Kazuyo Sejima, Kengo Kuma expressed in the above words the tenor of his mood and the disarray of his esprit during his student days.

"The end of the 1970s was a time when the mood was very much that everything had been already expressed," he wrote. "We had been through the passions of the student movement of the '60s, and it looked very much like there was nothing new to be done, be it in architecture, literature or thought.