The University of St. Gallen is honored to welcome Sou Fujimoto, one of the world's most celebrated architects, for a three-day residency. This exclusive event will provide an unparalleled opportunity for the university community to engage with Fujimoto's visionary thinking and experience firsthand his profound impact on the architectural landscape.
Throughout his residency, Fujimoto will engage in a series of captivating dialogues, workshops, and presentations, delving into his creative process, the interplay of nature and architecture, and the future of sustainable design. His insightful perspectives will undoubtedly inspire and challenge participants, fostering a deeper understanding of architecture's transformative power.
As the creator of iconic structures like the House of Hungarian Music and the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, Fujimoto is renowned for his ability to seamlessly integrate architecture with the natural environment. His designs embody a sense of openness, fluidity, and connection, blurring the boundaries between indoor and outdoor spaces.
The residency will culminate in public lectures, where Fujimoto will share his personal journey and the driving forces behind his architectural philosophy. This event will be an open invitation for the wider community to engage with Fujimoto's inspiring vision and gain insights into the transformative potential of architecture.
"My architecture is not complete until it is used." These words by Sou Fujimoto perfectly describe the essence of his visit this week to SQUARE at the University of St.Gallen. As our Artist in Residence, he did not just revisit the building he designed; he really brought it to life by sharing his thoughts on how architecture can inspire learning and community.
Fujimoto's approach to design is deeply rooted in the belief that spaces should resonate with their users, reflecting the local heritage while embracing modernity. SQUARE is a living example of this philosophy, where the region's traditional craftsmanship merges seamlessly with contemporary architectural thinking. It is not just the building's modern look that makes it special; it's the way it integrates St.Gallen's character and fosters a cutting-edge learning environment.
During his time with us, Fujimoto shared how he designs buildings that are more than just concrete and steel—they are experiences. With SQUARE, he created a place where students can gather in open, yet intimate spaces, surrounded by terraces filled with greenery. The thoughtful use of materials, like eco-friendly concrete and wood, aligns with his commitment to sustainability, mirroring the harmonious relationship between architecture and nature found in his previous works.
Inspired by the cloister at the St.Gallen monastery, Fujimoto designed SQUARE for multidirectional learning, encouraging a flow of ideas in every direction. The atrium, the circular pathways, the transparent classrooms—all these elements come together to make a space that is open and welcoming yet conducive to focused study or dynamic dialogue.
Reflecting on the impact of SQUARE, Fujimoto's delight was evident as he observed students making the space their own: "I was really excited to see how they enjoy it. How they feel it's their space." This is what matters most to him—the life that his buildings acquire through their everyday use.
We offer our profound thanks to Sou Fujimoto for traveling from Japan to share his vision and for contributing to the University of St.Gallen's legacy in architecture and art. His visit has illuminated the role of architecture facilitating innovative education.
“Architecture is only complete when it comes to life through its use.”
“I was really excited to see how the students enjoy it. How they feel it's their space.”