Toyo Ito & Associates
The Odate Dome in the Akita Prefecture of Japan was completed by Toyo Ito in June 1997. The project is another example of the architect's impressive canon, making use of cutting edge technology and bringing architecture closer to people. Seemingly floating a few meters above the ground, the dome leaves space for the people to flow in comfortably, while the use of wood is itself a way of bringing nature into architecture while adopting the latest technological advancements.
The city of Yatsushiro is known in Japan as a home for exemplary architecture - the legacy at least in part of Artpolis, a plan by the government of the Kumamoto Prefecture to seek out a range of talented architects to design cultural buildings in the cities of the region. Though the Artpolis scheme has been running for the past 22 years, perhaps its most successful building was completed back in 1991, with the construction of Toyo Ito's Yatsushiro Municipal Museum.
Toyo Ito was commissioned for this building by his older sister after her husband sadly lost his battle with cancer in the 1970s. Having lived for a number of years in a high-rise apartment, she and her two young daughters wished to move to a site which had more connection to the ground; as luck would have it, the site next to Ito's own house was being sold at the time.
Known for his conceptual designs, Japanese architect Toyo Ito is arguably one of the world’s most innovative architects. He began his architectural career with a project for his sister in 1976 called “The U House,” located in the center of Tokyo. The U House contained windows on the inside facing a courtyard instead of the typical outward-facing windows. This was Ito’s first experimentation with the ways that light enters buildings, and he expanded this idea to an even greater extent in his next project: the Silver Hut in Nakano, Tokyo.
Read about the Silver Hut after the break.
The Tower of Winds is a project largely indicative of Toyo Ito's approach to architecture, particularly his belief in the importance of technology and its vital role in the future of architecture. The project not only embraces technology and involves it in a dialogue with the city, but also establishes a direct symbolic relationship between nature and the installation.
Toyo Ito, recipient of the Pritzker Prize 2013, along with Cecil Balmond and Arup were in charge of the design of the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion back in 2002. What appeared to be an extremely complex random pattern was in fact derived from an algorithm of a cube that expanded as it rotated. The intersecting lines formed different triangles and trapezoids, whose transparency and translucency gave a sense of infinitely repeated motion.