Japanese architect Kazuyo Sejima has been announced as Director of the upcoming 12th International Venice Architecture Biennale – the first woman to hold the internationally sought-after position. Announcing the appointment, the Board of Directors of the Biennale di Venezia said 53-year-old Sejima is a leading exponent of contemporary architecture, describing her as “one of the most highly-qualified and established representatives of the new masters of architecture of the new millennium.” Sejima graduated with a degree in architecture in 1981, and began working in the studio of architectural master Toyo Ito. In 1987, she opened her own studio in Tokyo before joining forces with Ryue Nishizawa in 1995 to found SANAA, the Tokyo studio that has designed some of the most innovative works of architecture built recently around the world – ranging from the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York to the Serpentine Pavilion in London and the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa. Of her concept for the Biennale, Sejima says: "The Biennale must be everything and anything, fundamentally inclusive, in dialogue with both contributors and visitors. Buildings, the atmosphere that they create and the way in which they are conceived, can be the central starting point of the coming Biennale. Very broadly, the process by which we design can be brought to bear on contemporary and future architectural discussion. I.e. we can select and arrange works such that they are understood as they are rather than as representations. This can be manifested with an architecture grounded in its use by people.” The 12th Venice Architecture Biennale takes place August 29 to November 21, 2010. The Vernissage is August 26-28, 2010.
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