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From Tokyo to Milwaukee: Sou Fujimoto and His Impact on Students at the University of Wisconsin

With the award of the $100,000 Marcus Prize to Sou Fujimoto in 2013, graduate students at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s School of Architecture were offered the rare opportunity to learn from one of Japan's most respected architectural practitioners. Through a semester-long connection to the studio - which he led alongside University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Associate Professor Mo Zell - Fujimoto and his students have realized a small architectural installation on an unused lot in Milwaukee's East side entitled faBRICK.

In this interview conducted in Tokyo last year, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee student Robert Guertin speaks with Fujimoto about the ideas and themes of his work. In an attempt to shed light on the influence he had in the design of faBRICK, his answers are presented alongside images of the resulting installation.

Construction of the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee's faBRICK Pavilion. Image © Courtesy of University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Architecture Construction of the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee's faBRICK Pavilion. Image © Courtesy of University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Architecture The University of Wisconsin Milwaukee's faBRICK Pavilion. Image © Courtesy of University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Architecture Assembly method of the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee's faBRICK Pavilion. Image © Courtesy of University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Architecture

Video: House N by Sou Fujimoto

French architect and filmmaker Vincent Hecht recently revisited Sou Fujimoto's House N, seven years after its completion, as part of his ongoing Japanese Collection series. Nestled within a traditional Oita neighborhood, the renowned family home resembles "living among the clouds," as Fujimoto once described. A rich layering of space carefully eliminates the notion of distinct boundaries, allowing a subtle shift in program to place a heightened awareness on the spaces in-between. 

Video: Sou Fujimoto's Polyhedral Naoshima Pavilion Opens in Japan

Tokyo-based French architect and filmmaker Vincent Hecht has captured the opening of Sou Fujimoto’s polyhedral Naoshima Pavilion on the Kagawa shoreline in Japan. The inhabitable, seven-meter, white stainless steel structure is part of the 2016 Setouchi Triennale. Watch the video above for a closer look.

Mayor Rejects Sou Fujimoto's Taiwan Tower Over Fears of Soaring Cost

Taichung Mayor Lin Chia-lung has temporarily “pulled the plug” on Sou Fujimoto’s ambitious Taiwan Tower, saying he would rather pay a penalty for breaking the contract than spend an estimated NT$15 billion to realize the “problematic” project. 

The Banyan tree-inspired tower was hoped to become the “Taiwanese version of the Eiffel Tower,” as well as a model for sustainable architecture by achieving LEED Gold with its energy producing features. Its steel superstructure, which proposed to hoist a triangular section of the Taichung Gateway Park’s greenbelt 300-meters into the air, intentionally had “no obvious form” and was to be perceived as a natural phenomenon. 

Sou Fujimoto Chosen to Design Liget Budapest's House of Hungarian Music

Sou Fujimoto Architects has been announced as one of three practices chosen to design buildings for the Liget Budapest project, one of Europe’s largest museum developments. Selected through an anonymous competition process, the Japanese firm will realize an undulating House of Hungarian Music that was “inspired by sound waves.” Its distinctive perforated “smart roof” will float on top an airy glass-walled interior illuminated by the canopy’s lightwells. 

French practice Vallet de Martinis DIID Architectes was also chosen to construct a striated Museum of Ethnography, while Hungarian firm Középülettervező Zrt will realize the cuboidal PhotoMuseum Budapest and Museum of Hungarian Architecture

All three projects will be built in Városliget, the city’s largest park, by 2018. Continue after break to view images of each. 

© Sou Fujimoto Architects, Courtesy of Liget Budapest © Sou Fujimoto Architects, Courtesy of Liget Budapest © Középülettervező Zrt., Courtesy of Liget Budapest © Vallet de Martinis DIID Architectes, Courtesy of Liget Budapest

Sou Fujimoto Constructs Inhabitable Nomadic Structure for Parisian Art Fair

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.

World Famous Architects Design Bus Stops for Tiny Austrian Village

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 Designs New Wing for Germany's Kunsthalle Bielefeld

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...

UVA Transforms Sou Fujimoto's Serpentine Pavilion with "Electrical Storm" of LEDs

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. 

Fujimoto's Serpentine Pavilion Through the Lens of James Aiken

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 that hosts terraces of seating, steps and side tables that complement its interior coffee bar (view more images here).

This video was provided by film maker James Aiken.

Fujimoto's Serpentine Pavilion Receives High Praise from Critics

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...

2013 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion / Sou Fujimoto

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.

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 the Kensington Gardens in London. 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.

© Laurence Mackman © Laurence Mackman © Laurence Mackman © Laurence Mackman

Ochoalcubo: Japan + Chile

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.

The Fujimoto Experiment: Five Students, Five Days, One Model

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...

Sou Fujimoto to design the 2013 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion

Today, the Serpentine Gallery announced the architect that will design the 13th edition of the 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.

Beton Hala Waterfront Center / Sou Fujimoto Architects

© Sou Fujimoto Architects
© Sou Fujimoto Architects

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 Emirates Glass LEAF Awards 2012

Musashino Art University Museum & Library, Tokyo / Sou Fujimoto Architects
Musashino Art University Museum & Library, Tokyo / Sou Fujimoto Architects

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: