Posts tagged with "Tokyo":

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GSAPP’s DeathLAB examines evolving attitudes towards mortality

The SANAA-designed 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art at Kanazawa, Japan, is hosting the exhibition DeathLAB: Democratizing Death, featuring works by the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP)-based, transdisciplinary lab, led by associate professor of architecture Karla Rothstein. The exhibition is free and runs through March 24, 2019. The exhibition covers DeathLAB's architectural and artistic proposals that address the changing nature of spaces of death in contemporary society, a topic with particular relevance to Japan. The Japanese urban landscape is stressed by over-population, declining birthrates, and an aging population. Due to a shortage of space, people have begun seeking affordable space-saving burial measures. For example, in Tokyo, CNN reported on the Ruriden, a repository of LED-lit Buddha statues, and Shinjuku Rurikoin Byakurengedo, a futuristic temple designed by Kiyoshi Sey Takeyama of Amorphe. It contains a “smart library for ashes” that transports people using a conveyor belt system to underground urns. Alternative practices such as online funerals are also on the rise. The exhibition showcases DeathLAB’s ongoing work in this area through a three-part film and architectural models. The films feature interviews with experts in areas ranging from philosophy to historic preservation.
An illuminated model of Constellation Park, a 2014 unbuilt project, has been assembled for the show. According to a statement by the museum’s curator, Yoshiko Takahashi, “the project proposed nesting thousands of light-emitting ‘memorial vessels’ underneath New Yorkʼs iconic Manhattan Bridge. Harnessing the human bodyʼs latent bio-energy, the memorial vessels would be populated with calibrated microbial colonies to gradually decompose corpses over the course of a year, generating methane that would, in turn, be used to illuminate the vessel network in a dazzling constellation of mourning lights.” The lab believes that death transcends differences of “ethnicity, religion, and political/economic constraints." Constellation Park is meant to be an example of how death can be “democratized” in the metropolis. The project reinterprets the process of biodegradation present in natural burials. It is inspired by the 1960s Japanese Metabolist movement that was enamored with the relationship between organic biological growth and architecture. Check out this link for more details.
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teamLab to open immersive digital museum in Tokyo

Tokyo-based collective teamLab is set to open its DIGITAL ART MUSEUM in Tokyo on June 21, 2018. With the support of developer MORI Building, the museum will be the first in the world to exclusively feature digital exhibitions. teamLab told Quartz that their new museum addresses what they perceive to be a lack of spaces dedicated just to digital art, and that their museum will allow “visitors to melt into the art and become part of it.” The sprawling 110,000-square-foot museum possesses a maze-like floor plan centered on five spaces. With the aid of nearly 1,000 computers and projectors, along with real time coding, the installations react and respond to visitors, creating a series of shifting and immersive three-dimensional spaces. In total, these spaces will hold approximately 50 alterable works. According to teamLab, the museum’s principal exhibition, Borderless, breaks from curatorial conventions by possessing “no borders with other works,” with the capacity “to leave the installation rooms and move down corridors, communicate with other works, and sometimes fuse with them.” Installations within Borderless, such as Flower Forest and Terraced Rice Field, are designed to encourage visitor exploration across the expansive setting, through spaces of windswept flowers and beneath fabricated lily pads. As their own microcosms, the spaces possess illuminated shelters and hidden alcoves. Within the museum, a significant portion of the exhibitions will focus on creative spaces for children that hone their sense of spatial awareness through the navigation of a multi-sensory environment. Athletics Forest is composed of slopes, peaks and valleys connected by a series of landscape swings, hanging bars and bouncing surfaces. The entire area is illuminated by three-dimensional projections that migrate across the undulating landscape. Located at the center of Athletics Forest is Inverted Globe, a townscape with roads, homes and vegetation that defy gravity by clinging to the steep slopes of the landscape. Since the museum’s installations are digital, they can be continually adapted by teamLab to add new features, such as seasonal changes or entirely new landscapes. Established in 2001, teamLab is known for their bold public installations and interactive exhibitions that invite participation.
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Tezuka Architects wins 2017 Moriyama RAIC International Prize

At Fuji Kindergarten, designed by Tezuka Architects, children enter an oval-shaped building with an open-air rooftop playground, with trees entering into classrooms and virtually no division between play and learning spaces, between the indoor or outdoors. On Tuesday, the firm was awarded the Moriyama RAIC International Prize for this project in a ceremony held in Toronto. The Moriyama RAIC International Prize recognizes one architect, team of architects, or architect-led collaboration for a single work of architecture that is deemed as a transformative and inspirational contribution to society, and comes with a monetary prize of $100,000. The work must embrace humanistic values of social justice, respect, equality and inclusiveness within the community.   Tezuka Architects, a husband-and-wife practice based out of Tokyo, Japan have been previously recognized for their people-centered designs. The firm was chosen from a shortlist including BIG, John Wardle Architects and NADAAA, and Mackay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects. 

Located in the suburbs of Tokyo, Fuji Kindergarten is a single-story oval-shaped building 183 meters in circumference, with the roof serving as a playground. Three enormous trees were incorporated into the building, soaring through the classrooms and up to the roof, encouraging children to climb, with protective nets installed to catch them. A network of staircases, slides and skylights joins the two levels, making the roof accessible and inviting. Designed for 600 students, the building encourages community and social interaction. The interior classrooms are interconnected, partitioned only with movable furniture. Noise flows freely through the school, outside to inside, challenging the norm of quiet learning spaces so common in kindergartens (a condition which often makes children nervous and uncomfortable). Throughout most of the year, all the sliding doors are open, harmonizing the outdoor and indoor, a common theme in Tezuka Architects' work. 
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YKK’s LEED Platinum Tokyo Headquarters

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Brought to you with support from
Tokyo-based YKK Fudosan Co, Ltd, part of YKK Group's global network, has obtained LEED-BD+C (Core and Shell) Platinum certification for its YKK80 Building. It was the first such certification for a new office building in Japan. The goal of the project team was to reduce energy consumption by 60% when compared to typical office buildings. To achieve this, the design prioritized water and energy efficiency along with a healthy indoor environment. Open space within the seismically isolated structure was utilized as a heat sink for the geothermal heating system of the building. Other features include sensors for day-lighting and motion-activated operability, outdoor air cooling and mist facilities for the exterior shaft, radiant panels, desiccant air cooling, and high-performance electrical outlets.
  • Facade Manufacturer YKK AP (metal screen, windows)
  • Architects Nikken Sekkei Ltd.
  • Facade Installer Kajima Corporation, Toda Corporation and Daiwa House Industry Co., Ltd. joint venture
  • Facade Consultants n/a
  • Location Tokyo, Japan
  • Date of Completion 2015
  • System Steel reinforced concrete; seismically isolated structure; double-skin facade with integrated blinds
  • Products custom YKK metal screen and glazing assembly
The architects, Nikken Sekkei Ltd, say the site of the building posed the biggest challenge for the project. Located in a busy area of the city along an elevated expressway with a primary west-facing exposure, the project team relied heavily on the building envelope to provide necessary acoustical and solar protection. The facade design, engineered in-house by Nikken Sekkei, employs a double-skin curtain wall which includes automatic blinds within the cavity and a custom exterior aluminum screen. Set outboard of this facade, a custom metal screen manufactured by YKK was incorporated to provide further solar protection. Covering the roughly 25,000-square-foot primary facade, the mesh-like appearance of the screen is comprised of two layers of delicate extruded aluminum “Y” sections. Beyond the facade, a “forest dining room” features bright and simple design scheme, using plain wood as the base color for both the interior finishing and furnishings. The cafe, which roasts its own beans on the premises, serves as a PR activity and is directly managed by YKK, is located on the first floor. The theme color of the cafe was used for the eaves and walls. Furthermore, the shape of the lighting box was cut into Y, the image design was taken from YKK. For workstations on the standard floor, the emphasis was placed on smooth operations, with our original design used for desk systems. The architects say the facade system at YKK80 creates a varied expression while maintaining a uniform appearance. “From a practical standpoint, the metal screen was incorporated to help reduce the strong west sunlight and filter the view of the busy neighborhood from the interior. The details joining sections of the metal screen were carefully designed so that the screen would appear seamless, or in other words, a single fabric. We felt it was important for the 'screen' to appear like a single fabric that wraps the building.”
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Kazuyo Sejima designs museum dedicated to Japanese artist Hokusai

Katsushika Hokusai, the artist behind the The Great Wave Off Kanagawa—a painting so famous it even has its own emoji—now has a museum dedicated to his work. The Sumida Hokusai Museum in Tokyo opened in November last year and was designed by Japanese architect Kazuyo Sejima, co-founder of SANAA.

Inside, more than 18,000 works from Hokusai and his protégés are on display. On the outside, however, a reflective aluminum skin wraps around the entire structure, dampening its monolithic form. The aluminum facade comprises an arrangement of angled panels. This formation allows the museum entrance to remain ambiguous and relatively undefined. Meanwhile, angled cuts through the building also soften the form's presence while serving as a way of allowing daylight in—the museum has no directly outward facing windows.

In addition to letting light in, the angular voids also provide views out. Museum-goers can enjoy vistas of Japan's capital city from within when on the upper levels. Walkways and programming too are defined by these incisions.

As part of the brief, Sejima was asked to design a museum that appealed to both tourists and locals. Hokusai lived in the region of Sumida, Edo (now known as Tokyo) roughly 200 years ago. The museum dedicated to his work and legacy resides in the same area—hence its name. The Pritzker Prize–winning architect's five-story building not only holds close to 20,000 works but, includes seminar, lecture, and workshop spaces, as well as a research center. This program is a bid to broaden the scope of Hokusai's work, making it accessible to a wider audience and cementing his status within the art world.

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This museum in a Tokyo warehouse is dedicated to preserving architectural models

A recently-opened museum in Tokyo aims to archive and display architectural models from great Japanese architects like Kengo Kuma, Riken Yamamoto, and Shigeru Ban. The museum treats the models as  important archival pieces in respect to their finished buildings as well as pieces of art worthy of appreciation. The museum is called Archi-Depot, and it’s located in the Shinagawa district of Tokyo. Its founder, Warehouse Terrada, is a storage company that advertises its expertise in storing wine, art, and other media. This helps explain the layout of the space, which has its models simply arranged on 116 shelves in an open warehouse. Guests can look up more information, including photos and blueprints, of each model using QR codes. The layout of the museum is clean and minimalist, and it doesn't take an expert in architecture to appreciate these delicate miniatures. According to Archi-Depot, their mission is work at the intersection of museum and archive. “Architectural models are considered to be profound materials that transmit designers’ thoughts, as well as being high quality sculpture works,” the museum says on their website. “Fans of architecture will gather from all over the world, as ARCHI-DEPOT has an accumulation of Japanese architectural models.” This museum is the first of its kind in Japan but its philosophy is similar to that of the Richard Meier Model Museum in Jersey City, New Jersey, which specifically gathers models made by the Pritzker winning architect Richard Meier. Other museums have dedicated specific exhibits to architectural models.
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Playing with blocks: Kengo Kuma designs Japanese-style Lego pieces

Scaling down from the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Stadium, Japanese architect Kengo Kuma has teamed up with forest conservation organization More Trees to create a set of triangular-shaped wooden building blocks. The stackable kit of parts is made of Japanese cedar wood, and has been described as the Japanese version of Lego. The minimalist design of each block, known as tsumiki, or “wooden blocks” in Japanese, allows for countless different configurations and arrangements. The pieces can be easily disassembled and restacked. People of all ages were able to enjoy Kuma’s creations at Tokyo Design Week last November, where Kengo Kuma & Associates formed a pavilion made up of giant-sized tsumiki pieces in a central Tokyo park. “I have loved tsumiki my whole life, every since I was a young boy. And my dream came true, I designed tsumiki myself, the sort which hadn’t existed before,” said Kuma in a statement. “The set is not a heavy, masonry kind of wood block, but a light, transparent system just like what you see in traditional Japanese architecture.” The individual wooden pieces are reminiscent of the pavilion that Kuma designed in Paris’ Jardin des Tuileries, which is made of a complex lattice of identical stacked timber beams. Kuma is known for his explorations of timber construction, and has employed woodworking in a number of projects including the Daiwa Ubiquitous Computing Research Building and the Sunny Hills retail store. Kuma’s building block set is available in three different sizes: a 7-piece set, a 13-piece set, and a 22-piece set.
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Kengo Kuma claims commission for Tokyo Olympic Stadium as Hadid fumes

At last, design for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Stadium has finally been decided with Kengo Kuma's winning commission. The Japanese firm fought off a plan by Toyo Ito to claim the prize. Zaha Hadid, however, was less than complimentary of the decision. The 80,000 capacity stadium will cost $1.2 billion, almost half the cost of Hadid's proposal and will crucially be constructed by Taisei Corp, a major firm in Japan. That's not to say that decision isn't still mired in controversy. Nicknamed the "hamburger," several architects, according to the Financial Times, claim it bears “remarkable similarities” to a an earlier design that was scrapped in July. Utilizing a wood and steel roof, Kuma's design creates a green space within the city of Tokyo with the facade’s horizontal lines seemingly referencing the 1,300-year-old Gojunoto wooden pagoda at Horyuji Temple. Meanwhile the environment is completed via the implementation of Jingu Shrine trees and other foliage found within the vicinity of the stadium. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe spoke of the design, saying "I think this is a wonderful plan that meets criteria such as basic principles, construction period and cost," when he announced the winning practice. Hadid, though, has other ideas. “Sadly the Japanese authorities, with the support of some of those from our own profession in Japan, have colluded to close the doors on the project to the world,” Zaha Hadid Architect's said in statement. "This shocking treatment of an international design and engineering team ... was not about design or budget." "In fact much of our two years of detailed design work and the cost savings we recommended have been validated by the remarkable similarities of our original detailed stadium layout and our seating bowl configuration with those of the design announced today," she continued. Completion is set to be around November 2019, though there are doubts that it will be ready in time for the Rugby World Cup that Japan is hosting that year. This was initially a requirement that was demanded by the Japan Sports Council and one that Hadid says her firm would have been able to meet. “Work would already be under way building the stadium if the original design team had simply been able to develop this original design, avoiding the increased costs of an 18-month delay and risk that it may not be ready in time for the 2020 Games.” Meanwhile, president of Tokyo 2020, Yoshiro Mori, has said, “The stadium incorporates the views of experts in the construction field and we are looking forward very much to using the new stadium as the centrepiece of the Tokyo 2020 Games.”
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After Zaha Hadid bows out, two new proposals unveiled for the Tokyo Olympic Stadium

After controversy and budget overruns surrounding Zaha Hadid's curvy design for Tokyo's Olympic Stadium, the starchitect bowed out of the running. But Tokyo still needs a stadium, and two just-released proposals show a decidedly more traditional design. The Japan Sports Council announced that the winner will be selected before the year is up, however, upon publishing details of the proposals, they have chosen to keep the submissions anonymous. That said, Nikkan Sports speculates that architects Toyo Ito and Kengo Kuma are the two practices vying for the lucrative commission. Supposing this claim is true, one can quickly deduce that proposal "A" belongs to Kengo Uma and that proposal "B" is Toyo' based on both firms' previous projects and inherent style. An in-depth insight into both the plans can be found on the council's website (it's all in Japanese) and it's clear that both submissions clearly outline costs and construction details—a hard lesson learned after Hadid's proposal, which was vetoed by the council, after it spiralled up to $2 billion. Now, both submissions cost around half of Hadid's proposal, ringing in at $1.2 billion. Utilizing a wood and steel roof, Proposal A creates a green space within the city of Tokyo with the facade's horizontal lines seemingly referencing the 1,300-year-old Gojunoto wooden pagoda at Horyuji Temple. Meanwhile the environment is completed via the implementation of Jingu Shrine trees and other foliage found within the vicinity of the stadium. Meanwhile, Proposal B incorporates a much more modern aesthetic, especially in its roof design. The roof design, however, as artful as it may be, is primarily functional. The curvature encapsulates sound generated from spectators, creating a more fervent atmosphere while keeping the neighbors happy. Supporting the roof will be 72 pillars that wrap around the stadium. What defines Proposal B is its unique and feathery undulating roof, but also the solid wood pillars that will be equally spaced around the stadium. The 72 weight-bearing pillars will serve a symbolic purpose in that they reference Japan’s tradition of building pillars to honor festivities. The number of pillars is also special, representing the 72 micro-seasons of Japan, a feature of Japan's culture that is exhibited further with a 2788.71 foot track that informs visitors of each micro-season with each pillar.
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Muji Hut: Designers team up with minimalist retailer for three small but mighty prefab homes

Japanese retailer MUJI teamed up with well-known designers Naoto Fukasawa, Jasper Morrison, and Konstantin Grcic to create Muji Hut, a collection of three prefab homes. The minimalistic-inspired homes made their debut during Tokyo Design Week, which took place October 24 to November 3. Muji Hut consists of three cozy, lightweight, and innovative huts: Jasper Morrison’s Hut of Cork, Konstantin Grcic’s Hut of Aluminum, and Naoto Fukasawa’s Hut of Wood. All three huts include a combination of both traditional Japanese elements and modern design aspects. Hut of Cork has designated areas for cooking, eating, resting, and bathing. The hut embraces the great outdoors by including just a shower for bathing, hinting that residents make use of the communal bathhouse or hot spring located nearby. The hut’s exterior is clad of sound-absorbing cork panels, and the interior consists of an array of tatami mats. Hut of Aluminum is comprised of an all-wood interior, which is accessible by sliding shoji-style doors. The hut features retractable aluminum awnings as well as a loft that houses a small sleeping area. Hut of Wood resembles a traditional log cabin and includes timber wood, a pitched roof, a dining table and chairs, a kitchenette, scenic views, natural light, and floor-to-ceiling glazed sliding doors. The hut is also outfitted with a traditional Japanese bath, cot, and wood-burning stove. MUJI has yet to announce if the collection will be brought to market.  
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Hadid concedes her $2 billion Japan National Stadium bid is dead

Despite months of refusing to admit the case, Zaha Hadid has finally conceded that her bid for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Stadium is dead in the water. After Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the country was scrapping Hadid's plans in June earlier this year, the British-Iraqi architect has only now come out and said that the plans are indeed finished and that the project will go no further. Since day one the project was steeped in controversy amid the backlash from critics denouncing the stadium for displacing residents of public housing while also burning a deep hole in Japanese pocketbooks. Hadid's proposal would have cost a hefty $2 billion. Another reason the project failed was due to the fact that Hadid's company was also unsuccessful in finding a construction company. The Tokyo 2020 authority has made sure this issue will not rise again as conditions now stipulate that a construction firm must be in place for projects submitted in the new competition for the design. In a statement, a spokesman on behalf of Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) said: “It is disappointing that the two years of work and investment in the existing design for a new national stadium for Japan cannot be further developed to meet the new brief through the new design competition.” In 2012, Hadid's design topped 45 other submissions to claim the prize. She most recently released a 20 minute video pitch arguing its financial viability. https://youtu.be/KWQGwz3vdb4 [h/t The Guardian.]
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Video> Zaha Hadid battles for her Tokyo Olympics Stadium project

In an attempt to salvage the now-scrubbed project, Zaha Hadid has released a new video in defense of  her firm's design for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Stadium. The film presents a robust—albeit familiar—argument for the reinstatement of the building. Once the bona fides of the project team (which includes Arup Sports) are revisited and a sensitivity to Japanese culture is declared, the oblique blame game begins. https://vimeo.com/137299144 Citing the substantial investment that's already been made in developing the project, Team Hadid suggests that the construction bidding process be restarted, in an attempt to reduce the estimated $2-billion-plus cost to erect the stadium. From the video: "To start the design from scratch is an unnecessary risk, which we think the government should reconsider if its aim is to achieve a lower price...we believe the answer is to introduce more competition between the contractors, but not to lose the benefits of the design." So far, there has not been a response to the video from Olympics officials.