Japanese and Chilean Architects Collaborate to Design Houses for the Ochoalcubo Project

Ochoalcubo (Eight-Cubed) is a pioneering project in Chile that seeks to unite leading Chilean and Japanese practices with ground-breaking architecture. The collaborative enterprise was started by Eduardo Godoy, a design impresario who began working in Chile in the 1980s and who has always been a strong advocate for innovative design and architecture in the country. For a nation that boasts more than forty individual schools of architecture, the ever growing number of professionals seems to have had a relatively small impact on Chilean cities. Faced with the seemingly infinite landscape of ‘cookie-cutter housing’ in the suburbs, Godoy implemented Ochoalcubo in order to provide opportunities for young professionals, alongside fostering a new kind of appreciation for the profession itself. With a large number of architects having taken part in the first stage, including Smiljan Radic (designer of the 2014 Serpentine Pavilion), the third and fourth stage of what is certainly one of the world’s largest active architectural laboratories will be launched in the coming days.

See images from all sixteen proposals from third and fourth stages of the Ochoalcubo project, including those by SANAASou FujimotoKengo KumaAlejandro Aravena and Atelier Bow Wow, after the break.

Ochoalcubo: Japan + Chile

Sou Fujimoto and Yoshiharu Tsukamoto (Atelier Bow-Wow) at the Ochoquebradas site © Courtesy of Max Nuñez

In Chile, a very special project is being developed.

, a design impresario who started his business in Chile in the 80′s, has always been an advocate for design and architecture in the country. In Chile, more than 40 schools of architecture have flooded the market, but the ever growing number of professionals has had a relatively small impact on Chilean cities. Seeing the almost infinite landscape of cookie cutter housing in the suburbs, Godoy asked himself: why not break this model into smaller pieces, each designed by a particular architect, each an opportunity for a young professional? With this in mind, and to foster the appreciation for architects, Eduardo and his team at Interdesign started a project called “Ochoalcubo” (Eight-Cubed). His original idea was to make 8 projects, with 8 buildings designed each by 8 architects, to create developments where the singularity of each piece was key, in order to demonstrate how the individuality of the architect could result in good architecture.

Milan Design Week 2013: Akihisa Hirata Designs ‘Amazing Flow’ for Lexus

Courtesy of Lexus

Under the guidance of , Japanese architect Akihisa Hirata envisioned an  futuristic, experienced-based which sought to express “manifestations of flow as they relate to people and nature” to the spectators of the 2013 Milan Design Week. Titled “Amazing Flow”, the offered a “vision of the city of tomorrow” with a multi-sensory experience that embodied the “Lexus’ world vision” and a glimpse into how cars flow throughout built environment  The display consisted of a continuous, wooden structure that represented a moment in which “roads, humans, wind and water flow as a single entity.”

Compare the installation to the Lexus “Create Amazing” promotional video for the 2014 LF-LC Concept car and watch an interview with Hirata after the break…

Milan Design Week 2013: Energetic Energies for Panasonic / Akihisa Hirata

© Santi Caleca

Envision a future where undulating “solar plants” transform the rectangular masses of our cities into a vibrant metropolis where technology aids in the coexistence of humans and nature. Represented in the conceptual “Energetic Energies” at the Milan Design Week 2013, this notion of redefining our relationship with the sky through photovoltaics is based on years of technological research and development by the Panasonic Corporation, who commissioned Japanese architect Akihisa Hirata to imagine the possibilities.

The exhibition features a 30 meter-long makeshift city, whose “hills” of photovoltaics overtake clusters of white, translucent buildings while shadows of clouds move in and out of the space.

A video interview with and more images after the break…

Akihisa Hirata: Tangling

Akihisa Hirata: Tangling © Daniel Hewitt

Presented in an “interwoven tangle”, Japanese architect Akihisa Hirata has revealed his view of architecture and ecology, along with form and function, in his first ever international solo exhibition at the The Architecture Foundation in London. Now on view, the immersive 1:1 scale – “a contorted loop” – display’s over a hundred study models and conceptual sketches, an interview with the architect, and intimate films of based on his projects.

The exhibition opened shortly after Hirata’s receipt of the Golden Lion award at the 13th Venice Architecture Biennale for his contribution, with Kumiko Inui, Sou Fujimoto and Naoya Hatakeyama, to the Japanese Pavilion, curated by Toyo Ito.

Continue after the break for more. 

AD Interviews: The Japan Pavilion at the Venice Biennale / Toyo Ito, Akihisa Hirata, Sou Fujimoto

During the opening of the Venice Biennale, we had the chance to sit down and talk with the curator and participants of the Japan Pavilion, awarded with the Gold Lion.

In the following videos you can see Toyo Ito, curator of “Architecture. Possible Here? Home-for-all”, along with collaborators Akihisa Hirata and Sou Fujimoto, discussing what Architecture means to them, the role of architects in our society, and how they approached the Biennale’s theme “Common Ground” on this particular exhibition, which reunites Japanese architects and an architectural photographer collaborating on the design of houses for those affected by the 2011 tsunami.

We thank the Japan Foundation for this interview.

and Sou Fujimoto videos after the break:

Tree-ness House / Akihisa Hirata

Courtesy of

Bridging the gap between nature and architecture, the Tokyo-based architecture office of Akihisa Hirata have designed an organic residential complex in Toshima-ku, Tokyo, to break the typical layered architectural form seen very often in residential architecture. The result is very ambiguous interior and exterior spaces creating a more dynamic experience for its users. More images and architect’s description after the break.

Alp / Akihisa Hirata

© Toshiyuki Yano

Architects: Akihisa Hirata
Location: Kita, , Japan
Site area: 294,02 sqm
Built area: 161,92 sqm
Total floor area: 499 sqm
Project Year: 2008-2010
Photographs: Toshiyuki Yano

One Roof Apartment / Akihisa Hirata

© Toshiyuki Yano

Architects: Akihisa Hirata
Location: Niigata,
Project Year: 2010
Photographs: Toshiyuki Yano

Showroom H / Akihisa Hirata

Architects: Akihisa Hirata
Location: Nigata,
Program: Showroom, Office
Design Year: 2005
Construction Year: 2006
Site Area: 824 sqm
Constructed Area: 294.2 sqm
Photographer:

Sarugaku / Akihisa Hirata

Architects: Akihisa Hirata
Location: , Japan
Program: Shopping
Design Year: 2006-2007
Construction Year: 2007
Site Area: 538 sqm
Constructed Area: 851.5 sqm
Photographer:

sketch