Kazuyo Sejima has selected Chinese architect Yang Zhao as her protégé for a year of creative collaboration as part of the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative.
This is the first year that architecture has been included as a discipline in the programme that pairs masters and emerging artists in the fields of dance, film, literature, music, theatre and visual arts.
Yang Zhao, 32, started an architectural practice, Zhaoyang Studio, in 2007. His current projects include working on two buildings in the rural area of Yunnan Province, China.
Over the course of a year, Zhao will work on Home-for-All, a project created by Sejima and other leading Japanese architects in response to the housing crisis following the devastation caused by the 2011 tsunami in Japan.
“Yang Zhao puts much care into each of his projects, which are most often located in the outskirts of the city, so that they have a relationship with their context. I look forward to seeing what he would bring to the project in the Tohoku region,” Sejima said.
Previous mentors have included David Hockney, John Baldessari, Martin Scorcese and Alvaro Siza. This is the first year architecture has been included as its own category.
“In 2002, our first visual arts pair was architect Álvaro Siza and his protégé Sahel Al-Hiyari. The richness of their year together and the urging of our advisory panels over the past few years have led the Arts Initiative to add architecture as a seventh discipline,” said Rebecca Irvin, head of philanthropy at Rolex.
“We are honoured to have Sejima join us as the first architecture discipline mentor and look forward to her collaboration with this talented young professional.”