EMILIO AMBASZ - a 21st century architect/designer you should know

Green roofs are now being touted as the future but back in 1995 it was pretty radical when Emilio Ambasz and Associates extended Fukuoka's Tenjin Central Park with a terraced building covered in gardens.

Ambasz successfully reconciled two opposing aims: maintaining the green space of the existing park while providing the city of Fukuoka with a multi-use, iconic building.

The builder referred to it as a "a step-shaped rooftop garden... the image of a mountain as the view from the park."


Go to Treehugger for more on this Project

And here we are - 15 years later trying to catch up with Emilio Ambasz...

I love his stated philosophy which says, in part:

"Man should not see himself as a separate entity, detached from nature, but should accept his existence as part of it. Similarly, the artifacts we create should not be proud aliens, but rather should be designed as carefully and intricately woven extensions of the larger natural and man-made domains surrounding us." - Emilio Ambasz

Amen, 'nuff said.

Here are a few more photos of his work, as an architect and industrial designer:

Museum of Modern Art and Cinema,Buenos Aires, Argentina

This research facility in Austin, Texas was divided into a series of above ground buildings partially surrounded by built-up earth berms to integrate it into the landscape and reduce energy costs.

Neighbors see only a beautiful landscape as the research laboratories and recreational facilities are arranged casually around a man-made lake in the manner of an English landscape garden.

Salamanca's Plaza Mayor is,  the center of the city's commercial and cultural activity as well as a place of repose. The plaza itself, however, is a flat, barren place, unsuitable for sitting or gathering.
This design uses concentric squares stepping down toward the center of the plaza to create a sheltered, tree-shaded space which does not screen views of the magnificent surrounding fa├žade.  The new plaza offers a quiet, shaded retreat, while maintaining the integrity of the historic surrounding architecture.

Born in Chaco, a subtropical province of Argentina, Ambasz says he knew he wanted to be an architect from the time he was 11. By the time he was 16, Ambasz found a job in the Buenos Aires office of architect Amancio Williams. He attended high school classes at night in order to work for Williams during the day.

Ambasz entered Princeton (he taught himself English) with a rare intelligence and a passion for architecture. After two years there, he was awarded both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree.

Virtually overnight, Ambasz advanced from student to teacher at Princeton. But it wasn’t long before he caught the eye of Arthur Drexler, director of the Department of Architecture and Design at MoMA. At age 25, Ambasz joined the museum’s staff as a curator.

From there he went on to become a luminary architect... and he sees what I see : a melding of architecture with the landscape in a way we never imagined!

his website begins with 'Green Over The Gray'

An aside - As a young 20 year old (and an aspiring architect), I was sent from a Japanese architecture office to a landscape architecture office because I tried to place a museum into a hillside (1971)..."you are a landscape architect" I was told...perhaps I was just a little ahead of them?

So please look to EMILIO AMBASZ...the Frank Lloyd Wright of our time....Slide Show of Emilio Ambasz


  1. I have seen photos of the building in the first photo and admired it but never knew who designed it. I really admire all his work you have shown.
    Thanks for more interesting info!

  2. Great info, great pics
    thanks a lot for sharing this
    I saw pictures of Argentina and I loved the Buenos Aires apartments style! but this info surprise me again


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