After my last blog post on Friday, a number of architects in Japan have sent me updates on the situation there. I'm happy to report that Hitoshi Abe was able to contact his parents in Sendai, close to the epicenter of the earthquake. Abe grew up in Sendai and has his architectural practice based there, even as he serves as chair of the department of architecture and urban design at UCLA.
Fumihiko Maki said he and his staff are all okay. "When the earthquake hit Tokyo, it was 14:46 pm this past Friday. It was the strongest earthquake I have ever experienced in my 80 years, in spite of the fact that the epicenter was 370 km away from Tokyo," wrote Maki in an e-mail. He added, "To our knowledge, no visible damage was done to our office, nor to the buildings we have designed in the northeastern region of Japan. Unfortunately though, the same cannot be said about the many lives lost as a result of the tsunami. Our thoughts and prayers are with them all."
Toshihiro Oki, who works for SANAA and runs his own firm in New York City, reports that Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa's office in Tokyo experienced a lot of shaking on Friday but suffered no major damage. The partners will keep the office closed for "a few days as a precautionary measure since there are aftershocks," says Oki. I asked him about Nishizawa's Teshima Art Museum, which Record published as our back-page Snapshot this month and which sits on a small island in Japan's Inland Sea. Although he hasn't heard any news about the condition of the museum, he explained that it sits "on one of the higher points on the island. . . far above the sea level. " He added that Teshima Island is significantly south of the earthquake zone and "out of the direction of the tsunami."
Tadao Ando was on his way back to Japan from Los Angeles when the earthquake struck. Unable to land in Tokyo, his plane ended up in Sapporo. He flew to his home in Osaka on Saturday and reported on Sunday that his staff "and our buildings are okay."
Other architects sending notes that they and their teams were safe included: Toyo Ito, Kengo Kuma, Takaharu and Yui Tezuka, and Junya Ishigami.