Since I am a Japanese man who's been building through the experience of Japanese architecture, my actual designs come from Japanese architectural concepts, although they're based on Western methods and materials.
Frank Lloyd Wright made houses right up until the end. I think that's important because it gives you a direct connection to all the basic aspects of architecture - the spatial energy of the place, the construction, the materials, the site, the detail.
I like things that are kind of eclectic, when one thing doesn't go with another. That's why I love Rome. The town itself is that way. It's where Fascist architecture meets classic Renaissance, where the ancient bangs up against the contemporary. It has a touch of everything. That's my style, and that's what my work is about.
In the '60s when I was a student, there was this campaign to destroy 75 percent of the old buildings in Paris, replacing them with modern architecture. I realized this as a dangerous utopia. This modern vision did not understand the richness of the city. Thankfully, such destruction did not happen.
I didn't even have a clear idea of why I wanted to go to Oxford - apart from the fact I had fallen in love with the architecture. It certainly wasn't out of some great sense of academic or intellectual achievement. In many ways, my education only began after I'd left university.
You look at the steamboat, the railroad, the car, the airplane - not all of these were invented in the Anglo-American world, but they were popularized and extended by it. They were made possible by the financial architecture, the capital intensive operations invented and developed by the Anglo-Americans.
I always wanted to be an actor, but I always loved design, and growing up in New Orleans there was such great style, great architecture. I would decorate my little apartment in New York over and over again, because it only had a couple of rooms. And I did it for friends and family on the side just for fun.
Chicago is known for good steaks, expensive stores and beautiful architecture. Unfortunately, the Windy City also enjoys a reputation for corrupt politics, violent crime, and some of the strictest gun control laws anywhere in the country.