A Complex Serenity

Grant Hildebrand

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  • $75.00s hardcover (9780295990811) Add to Cart
  • Published: 2011
  • Subject Listing: Architecture
  • Bibliographic information: 176 pp., 154 illus., 122 in color, 10 x 10 in.
  • Territorial rights: World Rights
  • Published with: Nordic Heritage Museum, Seattle
  • Contents

George Suyama began his architectural practice in Seattle in 1971. His early career is marked by a number of notable designs in the contemporaneous wood idiom of the region. Over time, however, Suyama developed an architecture characterized by a search for minimalist simplicity, a paradoxical architecture of intense, even exciting, tranquility.

In 2002, he and partners Ric Peterson and Jay Deguchi established Suyama Peterson Deguchi. Their firm has built a distinguished reputation by means of designs influenced by the immediate region and by Suyama's ancestral Japan, which are intimately related to site and executed with an astonishing finesse of detail. Above all, their architecture reflects Suyama's quest to eliminate what he calls "visual noise," a quest that has yielded not visual silence but a kind of visual music. Architectural elements are distilled to a purity analogous to that of a musical tone, and relationships between those elements are as pure and artistically rich as the mathematics of music.

In Suyama: A Complex Serenity, Grant Hildebrand introduces the man and his work, discussing relevant aspects of Suyama's life, the influences that have shaped his beliefs, and twenty of his built and unbuilt projects that illuminate the development of his remarkable art and craft. Included also are appendices that illustrate Suyama's deep and long-standing involvement with the arts and product design.
Grant Hildebrand is a University of Washington professor emeritus of architecture and art history and author of seven books on architecture, including The Wright Space: Pattern and Meaning in Frank Lloyd Wright's Houses and Frank Lloyd Wright's Palmer House. He is a recipient of the Washington Governor's Writers Award for work of literary merit and lasting value.

"Smartly written and beautifully packaged . . . . Hildebrand eloquently illuminates the way Suyama's houses are puzzles that yield up their subtleties and secrets."
-Michael Upchurch, Seattle Times, July 9 2011

"The images do a remarkable job communicating the design integral to Suyama's work, at the same time the presentation of lifestyles liberates and inspires. Most pleasing about the book is the sense of harmony and balance shared by each page."

"His life and work are the subject of a gorgeous new book by Grant Hildebrand . . . Suyama: a Complex Serenity reveals via full color photographs of regional projects Suyama's trademark blend of Japanese minimalism and a Northwest emphasis on bringing the outdoors inside. Determined to eliminate 'visual noise,' Suyama designs structures simultaneously still and thrilling. How lucky we are to have such an artist bringing manmade beauty to our natural spaces."
-Seattle Magazine