Beyond the bubble. The new japanese architecture, by Botond Bognar, a review


Continuing my series of readings with the intent to give it a bit of body, I suggest  this book. It is has been published in 2008 by Phaidon Press.

The writer, says the back cover, teaches at University of Illinois(here) . Every time, you take a book that says New …something and it is dated says 10 years ago, you already knows that , at his best, it can give you some hindsight of what is happening now.

The great merit of this book it is in its short essay.

Mr. Bognar explained very well to me, the crazyness of the bubble era to which, until I read this book, I just heard about but I did not realize exactly how it was.

When he describes the real building of architect Masaharu Takasaki, Crystal Light guest House, built in 1986 and demolished in 1989…it says a lot about the folie/madness of the Bubble and he also explains why. My question, of course, arise: are we heading toward another bubble? Olympic itself is triggering it? Those are not in the book, they are my personal doubts about he current situation while stock market is rocketing…instead the book is composed by 4 sections:

1 – Introduction

2- The bubble years – The epitome of Japanese Postmodernism

3 – After the bubble – New Realities, new priorities

4- Beyond the bubble ‐The Architects

The first three sections are terrific. They are well documented and well explained and if you think that one of the most venerate architects, mr Toyo Ito, has Taichung Metropolitan Opera (Taiwan) mentioned and illustrated, when in reality  the construction just finished last year, you have the idea that even if it is written before 2008 it is not yet a dated book.

At the end of the third section he write a paragraph called lightly “Assessing the future – in lieu of a Conclusion” when it reports words from a philosopher Koji Taki, that basically does not suprise.

The 4th section is a commented Gallery, closer to a well illustrated magazine that sports works from 18 Architects studio such as:

Tele-Design, Koji Yagi, Kazunari Sakamoto, Atelier Bow-Wow, Kazuyo Sejima, Shigeru Ban, Waro Kishi, Nikken Sekkei Ltd, SANAA, Jun Aoki, Ryoji Suzuki, Yasumitsu Matsunaga, Riken Yamamoto, Obayashi Corporation, Yoshio Taniguchi, Kengo Kuma, Tadao Ando, Toyo Ito.

If you do not know half of those people than the book it may worth the acquire or if you like architecture large pictures as well. The proposed works are also well explained in their main features. One merit of the book also is to mention some foreigners who are working in Tokyo competing within the tight market.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hot to Cold , a recension


These guys, BIG, are a successful danish firm around the world. They are positive, and energetic, and most important they are winning competitions, which also means in our competitive world: many are losing against them in persuading customers.

The book, I just finished to read is a well explained showcase of their work. On youtube you can see their leader, Bjarke Ingels, talking about different projects , and you may want to save the money for the book. Also another interesting video about the latest tower in New York interviewed by a mayor American Channel streaming and other videos are pretty much covering their ideas in full length.

I liked the book for different reasons:

  1. It could be used as a handbook for visual presentation for University Students
  2. It shows how they did not waste their efforts, re-selling the concepts and adapting them to different customers
  3. It is an hymn to brave ideas.
  4. It is also shows how things can go wrong for great designers and that anybody should know that is the part of the job

On the Washington project (the buried museum on the mall) I have found emerging similarities with a Japanese leader architect mind, called Makoto Sei Watanabe, in his conceptual proposal, dated 2009 called ribbons. (From his official website there is also a wonderful video hidden on youtube)

This the main reason why I posting this on my blog. The Washington BIG project present an entrance create under a ribbon (some American may prefer canopy, or a series of canopies) and I see this concepts emerging more often that not, thus for the first time I will conclude this with a challenge to the reader and to myself.

In your next proposal whether a competition or a affluent client, try to design a ribbon, it might leverage your percentage of approval!

 

Komazawa renovation by Azusa Architects Co.


Last week it was the last holiday week before going back to work and I took my son to Komazawa to make a bicycle ride together, I really like that open space, with that gym round!

With my surprise the adult rental was close, so only my son had fun with the children bicycle track. The reason for the closure of the rental was this:

Indoor Stadium

Indoor Ball game Stadium

The architects are the Azusa Co. LTD (株式会社 梓設計) , here their website.

Here there is a link (japanese) that describe in detail the project.

The previous situation was indeed a bit on the deteriorating side,

an old Master management plan for the whole park is reported in this( 25 pages pdf). It was evidently before Tokyo won the bid for 2020, not a mention about this renovation.

My previous post.

a nice facade for a Hospital, Kagayaki Plaza, by Kume Sekkei (久米設計)


kagayaki Hospital

finished in 2013, according to this article, during the Sakura week I was walking nearby.

It is interesting that with the Sakura excuse I was able to go in places where otherwise I would never step. This road was near the Budokan but just a turn that I never took before. (here the address 九段南1-6-10)

There was even a free shuttle to assist tourists…

and you know what, for the first time the people who tried to pass the lines were not Italians…I bet you know where they were from!

IMGP6615

Gunjin Kaikan, by Ryoichi Kawamoto, 1934


It was the time of Imperialistic style, the time of the euphemistic pan-asian sphere, even so, I like it.

dsc01201His position, gives this building a sort of mysterious aura. When you enter into the Park that surround the BudoKan, in the central area, you cannot miss it.

Here the complete story of the Building.

And here another shot of a detail that needs some attention before Olympic 2020!

dsc01197

I found also a guy/girl on flickr that posted a recent event. During the Tohoku earthquake (2011) a roof collapsed and sadly two people died. Since then it remained closed. This style of thirties was called Teikan Yoshiki

Architecture and Structuralism: the ordering of Space, Herman Hertzberger, Rotterdam, 2015, a review


The writer is also a University teacher (Delft  University) and an active architect (I am not sure he is still teaching though). He is over 8o. I found his name trough a recent project, and I decided to follow the path to see where it leads…

Totally amazed of the intensity of his thoughts, and sometimes in a full time agreement with his teories.

The book chapters, as to say index, is already a recension as reading carefully the titles one can imagine the content. The titles tell us a lot.

Introduction,

Structuralism and Architecture,

Open versus Closed Structures

The collective character of Structure

Interpretability

Architecture`s Unconscious Programme

Generic, Specific, and Polyvalent

Identity

Building Order

Construction Kits

Sustainability

Work in progress

.

Where I am totally in sintony:

“Innovations in architecture are not necessarily improvements but essentially are shifts in emphasis and, therefore, attention,. Besides changes that are difficult to explain there are constants that are equally inexplicable, such as the seemingly indestructible classicism. We see it cropping up wherever there is a need to express certainty , solidity, status and power, in one or other from remotely derived from Classical Antiquity with the quite arbitrary pretention of having eternal value. For the record, the basis of other styles of architecture as well as other collective modes of construction, whether or not religiously inspired,culturally determined or otherwisecommunally driven, generally speaking is every bit as arbitrary”[pg.186]

Also the chapter dedicated to Sustainability unveil some fictitious value related to green, and its prophets. It is truly a fervent pamphlet about the amount of lies that the term has been crammed.

Some chapters mark the link between his group origins, team 10, and the japanese metabolist movement of the sixties. The main value of his theory is how to design and address the space in between the pubblic and the private. A very soften regard leads the reader to understand why some choices are better than others. I would give 5 start just for this unique splendid and fully supported explanation.

The thoughts are explained to such a greater number of examples from the romans to Arles, the city of Lucca, Le Corbusier, and his mentor mr.Aldo Van Eyck another dutch architect that is convincing. Often Le Corbusier is cited both in positive and critic way. Structuralism has an interesting story that officially began with a scism inside the Functionalism, in 1959.

He may had not yet win the pritzker prize, but he does not need it.

 

 

House Vision 2016


I went yesterday, Saturday, the 27th to this wonderful exhibition.

Here some links of video I shot.

It closed on Sunday August 28th.

 

House nr. 9,here. Nippon Design Center, for Toppan Printing.

 

House nr. 1, here. Fumie Shibata for Yamato Holdings.

 

House nr.8, here. K.Kuma, Seijun Nishihata for Sumitomo Forestry.

 

The winner is, Jun Iagarashi and Taihi Fujimori with their Inside Out/Furniture room.

Really lovely, above all the others.  House nr.10,  here. for TOTO and YKK AP

 

IN total there were 12 houses, but not all of them were houses, like 8 and 11, were outdoor

places. nr4. an Office space by Bow Wow.

There is a book already onliune if you`d like to have everything collected. I bought it as a present to a friend in Italy.

Last, I think Kuma, with designing the whole exhibition and 3 years before the House vision 1, first gathering must be considered a leading figure into this productive, architectural environment.

(Also you can see other old posts on this blog about that exibihition, 1,        2,        3,       4,        5, )

So I will put a link to an interesting introduction to his japanese theory book, called defeated architecture, of a blogger also that seems to be one of his

teammates at the studio or just one of his student I do not know really. Here, His ore her name is Zhue, and the article is dated back 2009.