At just 42 years old, Makoto Tanijiri and the office he founded in 2000, Suppose Design Office, have emerged as one of Japan's most prolific medium-sized architecture and design firms. However, Tanijiri's path to success was somewhat different to the route taken by his contemporaries. In this interview, the latest in Ebrahim Abdoh's series of “Japan's New Masters,” Tanijiri discusses the role that education plays in a successful career and his work's relation to the rest of Japanese architecture.
Ebrahim Abdoh:What was your earliest memory of wanting to be an architect?
Makoto Tanijiri: When I was about 5 years old. Of course at that age I did not know the word “architect” or “architecture,” all I remember was how small our house was, and all the things I didn’t like about it. Back then, my dream was to be a carpenter, so that I could build my own house and live on my own.
Suppose Design Officedesigned a renovation proposal for the Hill of Water and Sculpture in Japan. The project is situated in an industrial area along the Tokyo Bay. In the proposal, existing structures are converted into individual tower like sculptures. The sculptures meet the ground in an interesting manner, as each rests upon a curved base. The structures are connected to the existing beams located in the industrial area and the building’s varying heights create a balanced composition. The interior spaces are formed around the existing infrastructure and create a new type of space for people to experience the existing components of the site, in addition to the new sculptures.