Toshima Gakuin High School, by Atsushi Kitagawara, 2001


ToshimaGakuin1I just got a bicycle. Nice new way to find interesting works here and there, where you have not any clue about them it is really surprising, and exciting. This is the sort of things you are expecting from Japan and not likely from other countries I guess.

This was on my way to a local library. It turned out to be an awarded architect with some reputation in Japan, not so much abroad.

Here his career on wikipedia. Mr. Aaron Betsky dedicated an article on him “The other Japanese Architecture”, here. and also a monography you can find online. The official architect website, here. Although it does not have an english version it has voices in double version Continue reading

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

a health hazard evaluation would have saved the kid


I thought for a while how to address the issue and I decided of approaching it with my experience, first.

The fact , for those who read this blog from abroad, is big. A 5 year old kid died during Design Week 2016 in a fire, triggered in a University Student Pavilion composition

The picture below show the stand two days before the accident.

td20016pavilion…when I first saw it I had immediately the feeling of danger. Professional feeling, developed during my whole life. On other pavilions this year I had the same sixth sense warning. There was womb-like pavilion, dark, and without an easy way out, very uncomfortable to be inside. Another one was

plenty of plastic balls, spinning around, nice…but safety prevention? none!

This is the object of this post.

When you are Architect, Designer, student you are interested in creating new things, smart, cool, effective, terrific, impressive…but you are not pushed to pursue safety. It is not requested to you.

This year tragedy may turn all the internet buzz and cool stuffs pictures a bit more toward the healthy process of designing safety “pavilions”. According my wife opinion, Tokyo Design Week risks to be cancelled forever.

To my knowledge, Japan is plenty of safeguard rules and warnings. There is a general good awareness of the risks, and for sure much higher than other countries, probably Italy included. Let`s think about earthquakes and tsunamis, and it is easy to see they are on regular basis been considered all along Japan history.

This situation is, despite that, not be well analyzed. TDW is a temporary exhibition, thus  it has not to follow the strict rules of a real estate developer. It is easy to understand to why. In Japan a normal developer of a building has to be organized in a way that construction risks are assessed by experience and consolidate workings on site, rules a part. Usually it is a developer  –  one big company – that take cares of all.

In Europe is different, big developer are not the main market in the building construction. They represent a small fraction of it.  A construction site, even a small one of a one family house would host at least a dozen of different sector enterprises: from the excavation land, to the roof assemblers trough plumbers, electrician, painters and so on. All are different company with different contracts. Everybody knows his own works but knows barely anything about the other. That is why it has been created the role of Safety Coordinator.]

That was my role for several years back in Italy. Somebody who can oversee and forecast the risk of the site. Also during the construction phase, which are the most dangerous, he has to be onsite on regular basis to check if everything is following the right path or not and take actions in case something is not going well.

Among his/her duties, risk assessment are the foundations of the job. I guess the TDW organization has not got any professional doing this job either because it is not request by the Japanese Law or either because they did not assessed the risk.

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.

 

 

Fragment MIB、unknown


It was interesting,I thought I have lost these shots.

FragmentMIBAlthough I am not a big fan of exposed conrete, I have to admit that this result is massive and well composed.

 

20150221_105216_002it is located in the surrounding of the notorius district of Ikebukuro