Kazuyo Sejima was born in the Prefecture of Ibaraki, Japan, in 1956 and graduated at Japan Women’s University, where she obtained a master’s degree in 1981. After working in the Toyo Ito & Associates office from 1981 to 1987, she set up Kazuyo Sejima & Associates in 1987. Her early designs already show the poetic treatment of modern architectural materials and techniques that is the hallmark of her work. Dating from this early years, there are the small-scale constructions called “Platforms”, the Saishunkan Seiyaku Women’s Dormitory, the Castelbajac Sport store in Hitachi and Panchinko Parlor in Naka. Features shared by all these projects include rigorously defined elementary spaces and volumes, and a penchant for glass, aluminium, metal mesh and sculptural surfaces. Her close working relationship with Ryue Nishizawa dates from 1995. She has built numerous houses, commercial and office buildings, apartment blocks and museums in Tokyo and other Japanese cities, and has been successful in many international competitions, including those for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, Australia (1997, 1st prize), the IIT Student Center in Chicago (1997-98, one of the 5 finalists), the Stadstheater in Almere, The Netherlands (1998, 1st prize), the centre for Contemporary Art in Rome (1998-99, among the 15 finalists), and the revitalisation of the old centre of Salerno (1999, 1st prize).