Japanese architect Jun Aoki is famous, above all, for his rather object-like buildings. Although some of his works explore the theme of ephemerality, most are visually quite striking. That said, his new work, just completed in a small town near Tokyo (Suginami district), searches for invisibility. The huge volume of the covered sports hall Omiyamae Gymnasium is hidden. Approaching to the building, one sees only two ellipse-shaped one-floor structures. Lower than the surrounding city, tailored from small private houses, the newcomer does not stand out at all.
Though it seemed a compromise was met last October, when Japan’s minister of education, Hakubun Shimomura announced plans to reduce the cost and scale of the Zaha Hadid-designed Tokyo Olympic Stadium, the debate rages on.
Pritzker laureates Toyo Ito and Fumihiko Maki have launched an online petition to “defend the ginko tree-lined landscape of blue sky and Jingu Outer Gardens” from the construction of Hadid’s “oversized” stadium.
The petition (now with more than 13,000 signatures) urges the Japan Sports Council, who hand selected Hadid’s winning design alongside Tadao Ando, to reconsider upgrading the existing Meiji Jingo Gaien Stadium and the gardens surrounding it. This solution, they believe, is a more affordable and sustainable alternative that would prevent the relocation of nearby residents.
Take a tour though Zaha Hadid’s 2020 Olympic Stadium and share your thoughts about the design (and petition), after the break…
A new private house designed by an exceptional Japanese architect, Terunobu Fujimori, has opened. The new building is located in a small provincial town near to Tokyo. Neighbored by typical one-family residences, the newcomer comes to the fore. Different, shiny and apparently soft metallic façade catches the visitor’s eye.
Yet the scale of the building is much smaller than one might expect. Every height, width and depth are accurately measured and left from a certain point of view spatially stingy: no waste is admissible here.
The influence of Western civilization and the birth of modernization following World War II lead Japan to become the world’s second largest economy by 1968. With this came a host of problems, namely environmental pollution and the oil crisis, which triggered the reexamination of modernism in Japanese architecture and a series of radical experiments by young architects that inevitably lead to a new vision of the city.
Highlighting the work of these young architects, as well as historians, urban observers, artists and magazines of the 1970s, Japan’s participation at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale will spotlight the “independent, fundamentally innovative responses” that “unfolded a new fertile field of architecture” and revealed the “essential power” our profession has in the real world.
We recently went to Tokyo during the Sakura to visit the city’s incredible architecture: from Metabolist towers and the work of Pritzker laureates to the buildings of the new generation of Japanese architects. See the 27 photos we snapped after the break.
Also, leave your suggestions for our next Instatour in the comments below, and be sure to follow @ArchDaily on Instagram to travel with us through the world of architecture! Next destination: #Venice.
Since childhood, growing up on a farm outside of Nashville, Wendell Burnette has been inspired by nature; indeed, the amplification of the natural site has highlighted his body of work. In the following question and answer by Guy Horton of Metropolis Magazine, the Pheonix-based architect speaks about memories, inspiration and experience.
Wendell Burnette’s journey through architecture has taken him from Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin to some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world, where he has designed a type of architecture that resonates with the power of natural surroundings. It has also taken him to one of the world’s fastest growing cities, Phoenix, Arizona, where his practice, Wendell Burnette Architects, is based and where he calls home. More recently it has brought him to Los Angeles where he is the current Nancy M. & Edward D. Fox Urban Design Critic at the USC School of Architecture. He is also Professor of Practice at The Design School at Arizona State University’s Herberger Institute of Design and the Arts.
I spoke with Burnette about his approach to architecture, the importance of direct experience, and the meaning behind his current USC studio, “Earth Curvature”.