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Interview with Toshiko Mori: “Rather Than Working With Forms, We Work With Forces”

10:00 - 25 April, 2016
Interview with Toshiko Mori: “Rather Than Working With Forms, We Work With Forces”, Newspaper Café in China. Image © Iwan Baan
Newspaper Café in China. Image © Iwan Baan

As a Japanese immigrant who has spent much of her life in the United States, the architecture of Toshiko Mori occupies an interesting space: on one hand, the material and tectonic culture of Japan is, as she puts it, her “DNA.” On the other hand, her work clearly draws inspiration from the Modernists of 20th century America, and most notably from Mies van der Rohe. In this interview from his “City of Ideas” series, Vladimir Belogolovsky speaks with Mori (his former architecture professor) about materials, details, and the inspiration behind her work.

Vladimir Belogolovsky: You came to the US as a teenager with your parents from Japan in the 1960s. Were you interested in art early on back in Japan or was it something that you discovered already here?

Toshiko Mori: I was already interested in art as a child, always drawing, painting, making sculptures and models. I continued doing that here.

Syracuse Center for Excellence, Syracuse, NY. Image © Iwan Baan House in Columbia County, NY with Antony Gormley sculpture. Image © Iwan Baan Extension to Marcel Breuer's House in Connecticut II. Image © Paul Warchol Cultural Center in Senegal (Thread: Artists’ Residency + Cultural Center). Image © Iwan Baan +57

Steven Holl, Tod Williams and More Reflect on the Importance of the Emerging Voices Award

12:00 - 7 August, 2015
Steven Holl, Tod Williams and More Reflect on the Importance of the Emerging Voices Award, Tarlo House, Sagaponack, NY, 1979 by Tod Williams Associates, 1982 Winner. Image © Norman McGrath. Courtesy Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects
Tarlo House, Sagaponack, NY, 1979 by Tod Williams Associates, 1982 Winner. Image © Norman McGrath. Courtesy Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects

Every year, the Architectural League of New York honors the rising stars of architecture with the Emerging Voices Award, a title offered only to the most promising professionals. Long known as a predictor of long-term career success, the award has been given to architects who have later become some of the best in the world, including Steven Holl, Toshiko Mori, and Tod Williams. For a recent article entitled 10 Emerging Voices Winners on the Program's Lasting Influence, Metropolis Magazine asked some of the award's most illustrious winners to discuss how their trajectories were changed by the award, and how they changed architecture.

Toshiko Mori Calls Tokyo's At-Risk Hotel Okura "A Very Beautiful Orphan Child"

13:00 - 4 April, 2015

A photo posted by ArchDaily 🏠 (@archdaily) on

With the planned demolition of Hotel Okura in preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games fast approaching, architects and designers have rallied around the Modernist icon, calling for its preservation. In the latest and most high profile campaign, Japanese architect Toshiko Mori and Bottega Veneta's Tomas Maier have joined forces to span a breadth of platforms from a symposium held last November to an Instagram hashtag (#mymomentatokura) sharing images of the beloved hotel. Most recently, Mori sat down with Architectural Digest to discuss her passion for Hotel Okura, the origins of the campaign, and Japanese Modernism. Read the full interview and see why Mori says Hotel Okura is "a very beautiful orphan child," here

Ruins of an Alternate Future (Jinhua Architecture Park)

01:00 - 3 February, 2013
Courtesy of Chakroff
Courtesy of Chakroff

Originally published on the author’s website and blog on Archinect, 'Ruins of an Alternate Future (Jinhua Architecture Park)' was written by Shanghai-based architectural designer and theorist Evan Chakroff

One of the great, if seldom realized, promises of architecture is its capacity to affect change. The best architects seem to have this potential in mind constantly as they structure career-length narratives around the social impact that good design can achieve. While this is often hyperbole, and most projects are driven by functional or economic considerations, there is the occasional opportunity for artists and architects to create purely speculative work, where radical departures from established typologies suggest alternatives to the status quo. In these rare cases, novelty is embraced not for its own sake, but for its potential to generate new archetypes, to provide a glimpse into a parallel world where architecture truly has agency: where design can change society for the better. 

Continue reading after the break...

Update: Resistance to NYU 2031 Expansion Heightens

14:53 - 29 March, 2012
Illustrative Rendering of the Greene Street Walk, Part of the NYU 2031 Expansion Plan. © NYU
Illustrative Rendering of the Greene Street Walk, Part of the NYU 2031 Expansion Plan. © NYU

The contenders: NYU and the Greenwich Village community. Let Round 2 commence.

Almost two years after we first brought you news about NYU 2031, NYU’s plans for expansion in Brooklyn, Governor’s Island, and (most controversially) in Greenwich Village, and the fight has not only continued, but escalated. A debate, hosted by The Municipal Art Society of New York, two nights ago brought about 200 NYU affiliates and community residents together, but only spatially; there was a considerable lack of willingness to compromise from either camp.

NYU’s plan, thought up by Toshiko Mori Architect, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, and Grimshaw Architects, has ruffled feathers mostly for the fact of its bulk. The 2.5 million square-foot development (1.1 million of which would be underground) is the largest ever proposed for the Village, and has drawn criticism for its potential to diminish light, greenery, and open space in the neighborhood.

Women in Architecture: Toshiko Mori presents her work

19:00 - 10 March, 2012

Toshiko Mori, FAIA, founder and principal of Toshiko Mori Architect, discusses her work, including the Darwin D. Martin House Visitors Center. The lecture begins with a 15 minute documentary “A Girl is a Fellow Here: 100 Women Architects in the Studio of Frank Lloyd Wright”, produced by the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation.