Over the weekend, Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto exhibited an inhabitable sculpture of stacked and suspended aluminum cubes as part of the FIAC art fair in the Parisian Jardins des Tuileries’ gardens. The installation, “Many Small Cubes” is his first project in Paris and was commissioned by the Philippe Gravier art gallery as an exploration of nomadic structures and Sou Fujimoto’s concept of bringing architecture closer to nature.
“The floating masses of Many Small Cubes creates a new experience of space, a rhythm of flickering shadows and lights like the sun filtering through leafy trees,” described Sou Fujimoto.
The City of Montpellier has chosen Sou Fujimoto Architects, Nicolas Laisné Associés and Manal Rachdi Oxo architects’ “White Tree (L’Arbre Blanc)” as winner of the “Architectural Folie of the 21st Century” competition. Inspired by the city’s tradition of outdoor living, and the efficient properties of a tree, the mixed-use residential tower will feed off locally available natural resources as it rises 17-stories and connects the new and old districts of Montpellier.
Sou Fujimoto Architects has released details on a conceptual master plan for a commercial complex in a prominent, yet anonymous Middle Eastern city. Situated between an education and financial center, the modular complex reinterprets the “vibrant atmosphere and lively qualities of the traditional market” as well as the “inherent beauty of vernacular Islamic architecture” to create a “timeless” landmark for a currently underused portion of the city.
Krumbach, a small Austrian village of 1000 inhabitants, is not the place you’d expect to find structures from a variety of architecture’s biggest names. But thanks to Verein Kultur Krumbach, a new association dedicated to encouraging culture in the village, that’s exactly what’s happening, with seven international architecture firms agreeing to design bus stops for Krumbach.
Read after the break to find out more about the seven designs.
Sou Fujimoto has unveiled three design proposals for an extension to Philip Johnson’s Kunsthalle Bielefeld in Germany. Since its completion in 1968, the museum has built a reputation for hosting temporary exhibitions. However, with the construction of the new wing, Kunsthalle Bielefeld will expand their services to accommodate a contemporary art gallery.
Read on to review Sou Fujimoto’s three proposals…
London-based United Visual Artists (UVA) has brought Sou Fujimoto’s “cloud-like” Serpentine Pavilion to life with an “electrical storm” of LEDs. With the intention of making the architecture “breathe” from within, UVA seamlessly integrated a network of LED lights into the latticed, 20mm steel pole structure that mimics the natural forms of an electric storm. In addition, carefully conducted auditory effects further enhance the experience, transforming Fujimoto’s “radical pavilion” into an electrified geometric cloud.
Dazzling viewers with its “tron-like landscape of infinite white,” as described by Guardian critic Oliver Wainwright, Sou Fujimoto’s Serpentine Pavilion in Hyde Park is arguably “one of the most radical pavilions to date.” The 350 square-meter latticed structure melts into its surrounding by fusing together the man-made and natural world, creating a lush, semi-transparent terrain in which transforms into a variety of seating, steps and side tables that complement its interior coffee bar (view more images here).
With the opening of his cloud-like gridded structure in Hyde Park last week, Sou Fujimoto became the youngest architect in the pantheon of Serpentine Gallery Pavilion designers. The pavilion is an annual commission for a temporary structure, always given to a well known architect who is yet to build in the UK. In previous years the commission has been awarded to Herzog & de Meuron with Ai Weiwei (2012), Peter Zumthor (2011), Jean Nouvel (2010), SANAA (2009), stretching back to the original pavilion designed by Zaha Hadid in 2000.
With such a prolific history of star designers over the past 13 years, Fujimoto’s ethereal design has a lot to live up to. But despite these high expectations, architecture critics have been gushing over the new design. See a full round-up of opinions after the break…
Sou Fujimoto’s 2013 Serpentine Pavilion, now complete and standing on the front lawn of London’s Serpentine Gallery, has opened to the press and we are now able to see Iwan Baan’s photographs of the temporary pavilion. Fujimoto will be lecturing to a sold out crowd this coming Saturday (June 8th) when the pavilion opens to the general public. The semi-transparent, multi-purpose social space will be on view until October 20th.
Fujimoto (age 41) is the youngest architect to accept the Serpentine Gallery’s invitation, joining the ranks of Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei (2012), Peter Zumthor (2011), Jean Nouvel (2010), SANAA (2009), and more. He described his Serpentine project as “…an architectural landscape: a transparent terrain that encourages people to interact with and explore the site in diverse ways. Within the pastoral context of Kensington Gardens, I envisage the vivid greenery of the surrounding plant life woven together with a constructed geometry. A new form of environment will be created, where the natural and the man-made merge; not solely architectural nor solely natural, but a unique meeting of the two.”
The Guardian has posted both print and video reviews by Oliver Wainwright.
More images by Iwan Baan after the break. See also In Progress: Serpentine Gallery Pavilion / Sou Fujimoto.
Sou Fujimoto’s contribution for the 13th edition of the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion is beginning to take shape, as the “geometric, cloud-like form” has slowly made its way towards the height of the trees in the rustic landscape of London’s Kensington Gardens. Upon its completion in June, the 350 square-meter latticed structure will fuse together the man-made and natural world, creating a lush, semi-transparent terrain that will host a series of flexible social spaces and a vibrant collection of plant life.
More images by London photographer Laurence Mackman after the break.
In Chile, a very special project is being developed.
Eduardo Godoy, 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.
Last week an online call was put out by Rome’s MAXXI museum promising the first five architecture students to respond a chance to travel to Rome and build a model of Sou Fujimoto’s latest project. The five selected entrants started on their work at MAXXI on Monday and their experience is being broadcast over the course of this week in a series of photos and videos detailing the ups, downs, opinions and thoughts of the students as they work.
Read more about the model and exhibition after the break…
Today, the Serpentine Gallery announced the architect that will design the 13th edition of the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion. Every year the gallery invites a renowned international architects who have not built yet in the UK, to design a temporary pavilion that hosts public activities in at the Gallery’s lawn, in London’s Hyde Park between June and October. The list of architects for the past editions includes several Pritzker laureates. More info of this program at our Serpentine Gallery Pavilion infographic.
The Japanese architect based in Tokyo established his firm Sou Fujimoto Architects back in 2000. He graduated from the Department of Architecture at the University of Tokyo in 1994, and has been a lecturer at Kyoto University since 2007. With a solid trajectory in residential and cultural projects, the firm has consistently shown a unique and innovative approach to the spatial qualities within his buildings, exploring new ways of housing design, space and materials. Sou was also part of the team that won the Golden Lion at the 13th Venice Biennale, with “Architecture, possible here? Home-for-All”, the Japan pavilion.
About the design of the pavilion Sou stated: “For the 2013 Pavilion I propose an architectural landscape: a transparent terrain that encourages people to interact with and explore the site in diverse ways. Within the pastoral context of KensingtonGardens, I envisage the vivid greenery of the surrounding plant life woven together with a constructed geometry. A new form of environment will be created, where the natural and the man-made merge; not solely architectural nor solely natural, but a unique meeting of the two.
The Pavilion will be a delicate, three-dimensional structure, each unit of which will be composed of fine steel bars. It will form a semi-transparent, irregular ring, simultaneously protecting visitors from the elements while allowing them to remain part of the landscape. The overall footprint will be 350 square-metres and the Pavilion will have two entrances. A series of stepped terraces will provide seating areas that will allow the Pavilion to be used as a flexible, multi-purpose social space.
The delicate quality of the structure, enhanced by its semi-transparency, will create a geometric, cloud-like form, as if it were mist rising from the undulations of the park. From certain vantage points, the Pavilion will appear to merge with the classical structure of the Serpentine Gallery, with visitors suspended in space.”
We are big fans of Sou’s work, and we are very excited to see this project being built at Hyde Park. As usual, expect a complete coverage of this project. You can watch our interview with Sou after the break:
Sou Fujimoto Architects have shared with us their first place proposal for the Beton Hala Waterfront Centre in Belgrade, Serbia. Contrasting the medieval fabric of the capital city, Sou Fujimoto’s “floating cloud” intertwines an array of social and transportation programs into an organized tangle of suspended ramps that emerge from the static platform of the Beton Hala. It was lauded by the jury to be a “brave proposal” that holds the “highest emblematic potential among all of Beton Hala entries”.
Learn more after the break.
The results of the 9th Annual Emirates Glass LEAF Awards have been announced, honoring the architects designing the buildings and solutions that are setting the benchmark for the international architectural community.
The winners were selected from an impressive shortlist by an international jury of architects that included Irving Brauer (chairman, principal of Brauer Associates), Phil Holden (managing director of Pascall+Watson architects), Lucy Bullivant (architectural curator, critic, author), Paolo Brescia (partner of Open Building Research), and Kasia Fiutowska (founding partner of Sketch Design).
The 2012 award winners are:
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.
Akihisa Hirata and Sou Fujimoto videos after the break:
The Japan Pavilion for the Venice Biennale (designed by Takamasa Yoshizaka in 1956) presented the exhibit “Architecture. Possible here? Home-for-all”, curated by Toyo Ito, with the participation of architectural photographer Naoya Hatakeyama, and architects Kumiko Inui, Sou Fujimoto and Akihisa Hirata.
The exhibition, which was awarded with the Gold Lion at the Biennale, takes us through the process where these three emerging architects collaborated with Toyo Ito to design the “Home-for-all”, a project for the inhabitants of Rikuzentakata who lost their homes during the tsunami in 2011.
In the walls we find Hatakeyama’s photos from before and after the tsunami, along with a visual registry of the architects visiting the location. Around the pavilion, several study models reveal the process to design this unique type of house.
The jury stated at the award ceremony that ”the presentation and the storytelling in the Pavilion are exceptional and highly accessible to a broad audience. The jury was impressed with the humanity of this project.”
In the next days we will feature an exclusive interview with the curator, Toyo Ito. More photos and text from Toyo Ito after the break:
Above is a video by Vincent Hecht, an architect and filmmaker in France, which highlights the NA House by Sou Fujimoto Architects. The video is part of a new collection of architecture movies about Japanese architecture. Designed for a young couple in a quiet Tokyo neighborhood, the 914 square-foot transparent house contrasts the typical concrete block walls seen in most of Japan’s dense residential areas.