Posts tagged with "Arata Isozaki":

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Here are AN’s most important stories of 2019

As 2019 draws to a close, we’re looking back on some of the events that made it memorable. We’ve rounded up this year’s funniest, most important, and most controversial stories, as well as homages to some of the people we lost. Groundbreaking projects, heartbreaking disaster, and poignant progress toward social change made headlines this year. Take a look back at the highlights and lowlights, from the smoke above Notre Dame to the Pritzker Prize.  Notre Dame burns After the Parisian cathedral caught fire this April, architects such as Foster + Partners proposed fanciful renovations and additions to the structure as France launched an international competition to rebuild the spire before the 2024 Summer Olympics. As other architects, engineers, and academics protested the hasty renovation of the building, eventually the French government announced the cathedral would be rebuilt as it was, squashing the speculation. Chief architect Villeneuve has since made his opposition to anything short of an identical reconstruction clear, “I will restore it identically and it will be me, or they will build a modern spire and it won’t be me.” The Pulse Memorial & Museum competition In October, French firm Coldefy & Associés won the design competition for a museum and memorial honoring the victims of the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, in 2016. The team, which includes RDAI and Orlando-based HHCP Architects, beat out MVRDV, MASS Design Group, and Diller Scofidio + Renfro, among other top competitors. The design is to feature an open-air museum that spirals up to the memorial site and will slice the existing club in half, making room for a pathway through the building.  Rikers replacement towers  After pushback, New York City decided this fall to cut in half the borough-based jail towers replacing the notorious facilities on Rikers Island, but activists are still outraged; some demand the jails be built elsewhere, while others say the city should close and not replace the existing prisons. This month, the City Planning Commission certified an application that would rezone the island as a public space, a huge step forward in the Mayor's borough-based jail plan.  Studio Gang will lead the O’Hare expansion  The studio of Chicago’s own Jeanne Gang won a leading role in the expansion of O’Hare International Airport, which includes updating the nearly 60-year-old Terminal 2. Skidmore, Owings, & Merill were later added onto the project to design two new 1.4 billion concourses.   Amazon cancels plans for Queens HQ2 Cheers rang out around New York last winter when Amazon relinquished its plans to set up an HQ2 in Queens after substantial local opposition, but—as an April AN article detailed—the company still has a massive footprint in the city and around the country. Plans for the site are still moving forward in a different form, however, as a coalition of community members and organizations have joined together to rethink development that would benefit the neighborhood.  Arata Isozaki wins the 2019 Pritzker Prize In March, the great architect, planner, and theorist Arata Isozaki won the top prize in the architecture world, making him one of the eight winners hailing from Japan.
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Arata Isozaki receives 2019 Pritzker Architecture Prize at Versailles

The awarding of the 2019 Pritzker Architecture Prize to Arata Isozaki at the Château de Versailles on May 24 marked a crowning moment in the laureate’s prolific career bridging East and West and embracing the past and future. Spanning six decades and four continents, the 87-year-old laureate’s work encompasses more than 450 built and unbuilt projects, from the design of the megastructural City in the Air (1960-3) to address rapidly urbanizing Tokyo, to the Palau Sant Jordi (1983-1990 Barcelona, Spain) for the 1992 Summer Olympics, all the way back to his Parisian debut at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, with his 1978 exhibition design: “Ma: Espace/Temps” as an interdisciplinary/intermediary presentation of the artistic culture of Japan through the unifying notion of “MA: Space-Time” in which time is relative, cyclic, and constantly evolving in space. The presentation of the Pritzker Prize itself follows an evolving “space-time” in selecting spectacular sites for each year’s ceremony. These venues have included Prague Castle (1993), the Campidoglio in Rome (2002), and Pritzker Prize–winning architects’ designs such as the Guggenheim Bilbao by Frank Gehry (1997) or the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto by Fumihiko Maki last year. The 2019 ceremony followed the 1995 ceremony for Tadao Ando at the Grand Trianon and Chateau of Versailles, with the formal dinner served in the Hall of Battles. This year’s ceremony was held in the main hall of the 17th-century Orangerie with its immense 490-foot-long, 42-foot-high barrel-vaulted space in golden limestone as a stunning backdrop for the ceremony and dinner. This space could also be seen to be especially resonant with Isozaki’s own barrel-vaulted designs including his Kitakyushu Central Library (Fukuoka, Japan, 1973-4) and Fujimi Country Clubhouse (Oita, Japan, 1973-4). In accepting the Pritzker Prize, Isozaki noted how he had been part of early discussions with Jay and Cindy Pritzker about the nature of the prize in recognizing global excellence in architecture, and Isozaki served on the initial juries (1979-84). Isozaki praised the contributions of the Pritzker family, likening them to the Medici family in its patronage of arts and humanism. Isozaki compared his own pursuit of architecture to the mindset of the literati (bunjin) in the pursuit of an enlightened culture. He acknowledged the generosity and confidence of his many clients, many in attendance. The Pritzker jury noted Isozaki’s own generosity in supporting other younger architects as a juror for design competitions and as commissioner for projects, including the Fukuoka Nexus World Housing (1988-91, Rem Koolhaas, Steven Holl, et al.) and Gifu Kitagata Apartments (2001, Kazuyo Sejima, Elizabeth Diller, et al.). In looking to the meaning of architecture in 2019, both Stephen Breyer, Pritzker Jury Chair and U.S. Supreme Court Justice, and Thomas Pritzker, president of the Pritzker Foundation, paid respect to Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris following the devastating fire in April. For Isozaki, the first structure that dominated his thinking in his work as an architect was that of the ruin, as he witnessed cities of Japan decimated by war and pursued his worldview that “the future city lies in ruins” as a basis of his life’s work.
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Why Arata Isozaki deserves the Pritzker

The Architect’s Newspaper is very happy that Arata Isozaki has won the 2019 Pritzker Prize, despite some grumbling to the contrary within online architectural circles.

The Pritzker is about lifetime achievement, so let’s start at the beginning. Isozaki began his career studying architecture after a childhood in which he witnessed profound destruction. “[During WWII] I was constantly confronted with the destruction and elimination of the physical objects that surrounded me. Japanese cities went up in flames. Forms that had been there an instant earlier vanished in the next.”

This darkness pervaded his work, especially the concept of impermanence and ruins. In his early career, he was involved with the Japanese theoretical group, the Metabolists, who were taking on the city as a large-scale biological process, producing some of the most visionary proposals of the post-war era. However, Isozaki believed that they were too naïve and positive, and that architecture needed to (paradoxically) build for death and destruction as well as life and progress. Isozaki became more aligned with what would come to be known as postmodernism in the Venturian or Jencksian sense when he broke from both hardcore modernists like the CIAM and the Metabolists. For Isozaki, the city was not a place of activism or functionalism, but rather a place of memory and poetic imagination.

He took the Metabolists’ love for viewing the built environment as a living organism and imbued their rational, hardcore functionalism with a more artistic, human-scale, colorful approach. His Oita Prefecture Library and the Kitakyushu Municipal Museum of Art both took on the Brutalist concrete aesthetic, but treated the building as a body with connected parts, rather than an aggregation of cells or individual units as in Metabolism. In both the library and art museum, views are framed by cantilevered “eyes.”

In addition to his bodily references in buildings, Isozaki was an early protagonist of experiments in the relationship between architecture and performance art. His Demonstration Robot, part of the extravagant Metabolist Osaka ’70 expo, made an architectural-scale human that could host events on a stage while reconfiguring itself on an even larger stage. These performance architectures incorporated principles of the nascent performance art movement of the 1970s and foreshadowed projects like OMA’s Transformer or the work of Andres Jaque or Diller Scofidio + Renfro. However, soon after the expo, he fell physically ill and ended up in the hospital because he felt guilty for promoting a technologically positivist viewpoint of modernism.

Rising from his profound experience in the hospital, Isozaki formulated a theory of architecture that would guide what would be his most significant work. The crux: “Space equals darkness, time equals termination (escatology), and matter, or architecture and cities, equals ruin and ashes.” This represented his unique version of the postmodern linguistic turn, as he engaged with semiotics and form-giving through the lens of impermanence and ruin. He saw the void, negative space, and ruin as the rhetorical and cultural antithesis of architecture.

Isozaki had already been exploring these ideas in Electric Labyrinth for the 1968 Milan Triennale. He created an installation of large silk prints showing the atomic destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki alongside futurist visions of the Metabolists. This metaphorical evocation of these tragic events juxtaposed with the architectural positivism illustrated Isozaki’s cynicism about Metabolism, but also his reluctance to subscribe to any style in favor of his own underlying conceptual affinities, such as temporality, impermanence, irony, and collages of ideas and spaces.

This collage mentality was developed at the building scale in one of the most aggressive examples of historicism in the postmodern era and one of Isozaki’s most influential projects. According to Emmanuel Petit in Irony; or, The Self-critical Opacity of Post-modern Architecture, the Tsukuba Civic Centre “emerged as an assemblage of fragments diachronically cut from diverse historical contexts. The building’s composite anatomy of recognisable architectural fragments surfaces as a 'group portrait,' in Isozaki’s own words, comprising materials taken from such diverse sources as Michelangelo, Ledoux, Giulio Romano, Otto Wagner, Michael Graves, Richard Meier, Charles Moore, Aldo Rossi, Hans Hollein, Peter Cook, Adalberto Libera, Philip Johnson, Leon Krier, Lawrence Halprin, and Ettore Sottsass." The project assembled these fragments into a sort of bodily composition meant to sit in contrast with the gridded rigidity of the rest of the town. The invented and somewhat arbitrary historical narrative paradoxically provided context for a town that had little real history.

Perhaps Isozaki’s most important project was his design for the Palladium nightclub in New York, which opened in 1985 and closed in 1997. The lavish Beaux Arts interior of the former theater was augmented with a white grid and an orgy of light, sound, projection, and music that created what he saw as a technological environment. Like the Osaka robot, the relationship of architecture and bodies was in constant feedback, while Isozaki’s critical ideas about the false utopias of modernism came through via his references to “ghost-figures” of the Edo period of Japanese history and the ruins of Hiroshima.

Later in his career, Isozaki was again able to adapt to the times, as his work became less critical and more elegant. Many architects enter what Jencks would call a “late-mellow” phase, and Isozaki’s was not unexciting. Beautiful, competent buildings such as the Shanghai Symphony, Palm Springs Desert Shelters, and the slightly wacky Qatar Convention Center.

But the Pritzker (and architecture in general) is not just about finished projects. It is about ideas, drawings, and writing. Isozaki also had an influence on drawing with “120 Invisible Cities,” a series of speculative projects made with a silkscreen technique. Precursors to Illustrator graphics and cartoonish renderings that pervade architecture’s avant-garde today, Isozaki’s flattened graphics were also used on the Los Angeles MOCA project. He also used the silkscreen method for his entry for the New Tokyo City Hall competition, which he lost to Kenzo Tange. Isozaki even made an early foray into the digital, producing some computer drawings for the City Hall project in 1986.

Let’s face it—the Pritzker Prize is a relic from another era. But that doesn’t mean that it can’t serve as a useful tool for highlighting the great minds of the discipline and profession of architecture. Isozaki might not be the most avant-garde, politically correct pick at first Google, but for those who are paying attention, it is a great capstone on a truly incredible career.

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Japanese architect Arata Isozaki named the 2019 Pritzker laureate

Japanese architect, planner, and theorist Arata Isozaki has been awarded the 2019 Pritzker Architecture Prize. Isozaki, born in 1931, was deeply influenced by the aftermath of World War II and the destruction of his hometown of Ōita, after which he became fascinated by the temporal nature of the built environment. “When I was old enough to begin an understanding of the world,” writes Isozaki, “my hometown was burned down. Across the shore, the Atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, so I grew up on ground zero. It was in complete ruins, and there was no architecture, no buildings and not even a city. Only barracks and shelters surrounded me. So, my first experience of architecture was the void of architecture, and I began to consider how people might rebuild their homes and cities.” After founding his own practice in the 1960s, Isozaki left Japan to cultivate a broader knowledge of world architecture. In his sixty years of practice, Isozaki has continued to build in a manner known more for its programmatic solutions and contextual nature than solid adherence to a single style or typology. From the Ōita Prefectural Library built in 1966, a stalwart example of Japanese Brutalism, to the 1986 Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, Isozaki has never shied away from tailoring his approach to specific projects. Following the reconstruction period after World War II, Isozaki made his name as one of the few Japanese architects to build abroad beginning in the 1980s and in doing so, exported a truly international style to the West. “Isozaki is a pioneer in understanding that the need for architecture is both global and local—that those two forces are part of a single challenge,” wrote Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, Jury Chair in a statement. “For many years, he has been trying to make certain that areas of the world that have long traditions in architecture are not limited to that tradition, but help spread those traditions while simultaneously learning from the rest of the world.” The jury’s citation notes Isozaki’s importance in facilitating a global dialogue on design. “Clearly, he is one of the most influential figures in contemporary world architecture on a constant search, not afraid to change and try new ideas. His architecture rests on profound understanding, not only of architecture but also of philosophy, history, theory, and culture. He has brought together East and West, not through mimicry or as a collage, but through the forging of new paths. He has set an example of generosity as he supports other architects and encourages them in competitions or through collaborative works." Isozaki is the eighth Japanese architect to be awarded the prize. The 2019 awards ceremony will be held sometime in May at the Château de Versailles, which will be followed by a lecture in Paris.
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OMA wins competition to design tech-focused "Unicorn Island" in China

Chengdu, the capital of China’s Sichuan province, is rapidly transitioning towards a service-based economy and has enlisted OMA’s help in growing its local tech companies. Following an international design competition sponsored by the Chengdu government, OMA and three other high-profile studios have been chosen to master plan a Unicorn Island for startups and more established tech companies alike. OMA has designed a campus that weaves over the entire island, with skyways that overlap and interconnect, which they call a weave. At the island’s core is the Living Lab, a domed complex with working labs that will be open to the public. Branching out from the Living Lab will be the weave, which will hold startups and “Gazelles” (tech companies worth $1 million or more). The weave has been envisioned as a community space, and OMA has described the area as “village-like” in its project description; this interior section will contain residential housing for employees, a mix of office typologies, and amenity spaces meant to foster mingling between different companies. Along the island’s edge will be headquarters for the "Unicorns" (technology companies worth $1 billion or more), with room for expansion as the companies in the weave increase in value and relocate outwards. From the renderings, it appears that the complex will be massive and extend all the way across Unicorn Island. Interestingly, everything except the waterfront headquarters will be elevated; roads will pass below the floating weave, with four courtyards set aside, one on each block.  OMA has also revealed some of the tower typologies that will be present in the weave, including a circulation tower, sports tower, education tower, and relaxation tower for the 16 cores. With such a tightly-condensed campus, parking had to be moved underground. From the site plans, it seems that parking will run under nearly the entire island, with the exception of the area below the Living Lab, which will become an underground plaza. The design of Unicorn Island was led by Chris van Duijn, OMA Partner and Director of OMA Asia. Mobility in Chain provided the traffic consultation and Transsolar acted as the climate engineer. No estimated completion date or project cost has been revealed at the time of writing. The other three winners of the design competition include Morphosis, Foster + Partners, and a team composed of Arata Isozaki & Associates and Jun Aoki & Associates.
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Miami Beach's Bass Museum reopens after two-year renovation

After two full years, Miami Beach’s contemporary art museum, The Bass, will reopen its doors. Originally opened in 1964, The Bass recently completed its second major remodel. The latest renovation expands the programmable space of the museum by 50 percent while maintaining the same building footprint. When founded, the museum was housed in a 1930s Russell Pancoast-designed Art Deco building which formerly served as the Miami Beach Public Library and ArtCenter. In 2001 the museum completed a major addition to the historic building. The new 16,000-square-foot wing was designed by Tokyo-based Arata Isozaki. When the museum was looking to add more space, they once again looked to Isozaki to guide the project as design consultant. New York-based David Gauld acted as principal architect for the renovation. David Gauld also shares a history with the museum, as he worked for Isozaki on the 2001 expansion. “We have completely rearranged the entire interior of the museum,” Gauld told AN. “Isozaki was very open-minded about the changes to the project. He is very philosophical about it. When he builds a building, we will draw it in ruins, to anticipate that it will someday change.” The additional space allows for four new galleries, a new museum store and café, and a multi-generational education facility, dubbed the Creativity Center.  Interior design, including the lighting, café, and public space, for the project was handled by Jonathan Caplan of Project-Space. The entry sequence to the Creativity Center was curated by Prem Krishnamurthy of New York-based Project Projects, and includes colorful custom furniture and a reception desk. Thanks to the continuity of the design team, the additional space blends seamlessly with the 2001 addition, despite a few drastic changes to the museum's floor plan. Most notably, a large interior ramp was removed and replaced with a grand stair and additional gallery space. More space was gained by enclosing under-used exterior courtyards. “Isozaki’s design included a main building on axis behind the historic building, and more building to the north of that bar,” Gauld explained. “The design allows for more to be added to the south where there is currently a parking lot, and that is still a possibility. The museum wanted to better utilize the space it already had for this project, so we were able to add space within the same footprint by removing the ramp and enclosing courtyards.” In each case, the material palette for the renovation was directly drawn from the original Pancoast building and the 2001 addition. From the Art Deco structure, Florida Key limestone, rich with fossilized corral, was used selectively throughout. To continue a detail deployed in the previous expansion, wherever the contemporary building connects to the historic building, a glass and steel reveal ties the two together. Opening to the public on Sunday, October 29th, the first exhibitions at the remodeled Bass include solo shows from contemporary artists Ugo Rondinone and Pascale Marthine Tayou. For the opening week, New York-based artist Davide Balula will present his 2016 performance piece Mimed Sculptures.
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The Arata Isozaki–renovated Bass Museum of Art scheduled to open fall 2017

After almost two years of construction, The Bass, Miami’s museum of contemporary art, is scheduled to open this fall. The project was initially scheduled to be completed December 2016 to coincide with Art Basel, but was forced to extend the construction timeline to accommodate the extra care needed to revive a historic structure.

The original building was constructed in the 1930s and was designed by Miami architect Russell Pancoast. It was first built as the Miami Beach Public Library and Art Center—considered South Florida’s first public space dedicated to art—and was renamed The Bass Museum of Art in 1964. Soon after, it was added to the National Register as “an exemplar of Art Deco architecture [sic].”

In 2001, the building underwent its first expansion at the hands of Arata Isozaki & Associates, a Tokyo-based architecture firm known for its work on projects such as the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles and the Olympic Stadium in Barcelona. The renovation added a wing to the building and a second level to house 16,000 square feet of exhibition space.

The museum board soon realized that it would need more room, and began plans for a second renovation, which broke ground in 2015. The team for this renovation includes Arata Isozaki & Associates and David Gauld, a consulting architect in New York, in addition to Jonathan Caplan of Project-Space, who redesigned the interior aesthetic of the museum.

The new additions build on the existing footprint of the structure, creating three additional galleries for a total of six. A creativity center will be housed in a new education wing, quadrupling the museum’s previous education space. The interior renovations are the most considerable in the building’s history, involving the reconfiguration of two courtyards to accommodate a new museum store and cafe. Though the changes alter some of the existing footprint, they will also allow visitors to once again use the original entrance of the building from Collins Park.

“[The] historic building is of real significance to our community, and one of the few structures of its kind on Miami Beach,” said Debbie Tackett, preservation and design manager for the Miami Beach Planning Department, in a statement. “The fact that the museum is striving to expand its exhibition and educational spaces while maintaining the integrity of the existing architecture makes this an example of resilient preservation.”

The Bass museum is scheduled to reopen fall 2017.

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!melk in Milan

!melk, a brand new landscape architecture and urban design firm, is set to join Arata Isozaki, Daniel Libeskind, and Zaha Hadid, among others, for CityLife, an enormous development planned for the historic Fiera di Milano neighborhood in Milan.  The New York-based !melk, which was founded less than a year ago when Jerry van Eyck left West 8 and teamed up with Evan Rose, won an international competition to design a multi-level piazza, sculpture park, and butterfly garden/pavilion situated within Libeskind’s master plan.  CityLife will include skyscrapers by Isozaki, Libeskind and Hadid, as well as a museum of modern art, commercial center, housing complexes, and a new subway station.  !melk collaborated on its submission with the London-based landscape architect Gustafson Porter as well as One Works and Arup in Milan. Though !melk is a new venture, its principals have plenty of experience.  Jerry van Eyck was a partner at the award-winning Dutch firm West 8 for 17 years.  Most recently he was the project manager for development on Governor’s Island, but left the firm, in part, to pursue more US-based projects.  Ironically, !melk’s first big endeavor puts him back across the pond.  Urban designer Evan Rose is a former partner of San Francisco-based SMWM (recently merged with Perkins + Will) who built up their New York office. The CityLife project, under development by a handful of companies, is one of the largest urban interventions underway in Europe, of which more than 50% will be park space.  Isozaki’s skyscraper, Il Dritto (the Straight One), will be the tallest structure in Italy.  The project will also include waterways that suggest the canals of Lombardy.  Milan Mayor Letizia Moratti, announced !melk’s victory on October 27.   The other finalists were Agence Ter (France), Latitude Nord (France), Proap (Portugal), Latz + Partner (Germany), Rainer Schmidt (Germany), Atelier Girot (Switzerland) and Erika Skabar (Italy).