Mr. Yamamoto’s Big Prize | God's World News

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Mr. Yamamoto’s Big Prize
Take Apart SMART!
Posted: May 01, 2024
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    Riken Yamamoto speaks near a model of a building at his office in Yokohama, Japan. (AP/Eugene Hoshiko)
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    Children visit the Hiroshima Nishi Fire Station. Yamamoto designed the building with lots of glass walls. (Tomio Ohashi)
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    A firefighter trains at Hiroshima Nishi Fire Station. (Tomio Ohashi)
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    The Yokosuka Museum of Art, designed by Riken Yamamoto, in Yokosuka, Japan (Courtesy of Tomio Ohashi/Pritzker Prize via AP)
  • 5 Riken Yamamoto Overhead housing Shinkenchiku Sha k
    Yamamoto designed this housing project. Each house opens to a shared space with a lawn and trees. (Shinkenchiku Sha)
  • 6 Riken Yamamoto Housing Shinkenchiku Sha k
    A shared lawn helps neighbors connect with each other. (Shinkenchiku Sha)
  • 1 Riken Yamamoto k
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  • 3 Riken Yamamoto Firefighters Tomio Ohashi k
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  • 5 Riken Yamamoto Overhead housing Shinkenchiku Sha k
  • 6 Riken Yamamoto Housing Shinkenchiku Sha k


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What exactly goes on in a fire station? At Japan’s Hiroshima Nishi Fire Station, you can find out. You don’t even have to go inside. You can see right through the walls!

And you can thank architect Riken Yamamoto for that. Mr. Yamamoto just won the famous Pritzker Prize for architecture. Mr. Yamamoto’s buildings build community.

Step into the fire station. The front, inside walls, and floors are glass. From outside, you can watch firefighters train with ropes and ladders. It feels like the building is asking, “Hey everyone! Look inside! Watch how firefighters protect your town!”

“Many young children come to see,” Mr. Yamamoto says. “It’s very interesting for them.”

Check out another of Mr. Yamamoto’s projects: a huge group of apartments. The 16 clusters of structures include 110 homes.

Most apartment buildings look nothing like these. Regular apartments are boxes inside a bigger box. Mr. Yamamoto says that format makes it “very easy to create privacy, but very difficult to make a community.”

His solution? A tree-lined courtyard at the center of the cluster of buildings. People step out of their homes right into a beautiful space shared with neighbors.

Mr. Yamamoto is 78 years old. He feels amazed to win the prize at this point in his career. Pritzker winners receive a $100,000 grant and a bronze medallion.

Unity and fellowship are important to God. What a gift to be known as someone who builds not only structures but also connections!

So we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. — Romans 12:5

Why? Building community is important in families, churches, and neighborhoods.