The inaugural Obel Award has been awarded to Art Biotop Water Garden by Junya Ishigami+Associates. Announced at a ceremony at the Utzon Center in Aalborg, Denmark, the award recognizes architectural achievement and is presented annually by The Henrik Frode Obel Foundation. The prize is 100,000 Euros and an artwork by leading artist Tomás Saraceno.
Junya Ishigami + Associates: The Latest Architecture and News
Following a controversy surrounding unpaid internships at the office of Serpentine Pavilion architects Junya Ishigami + Associates, the Serpentine Gallery has ordered the firm to pay all staff who will work on the design of the 2019 pavilion. Criticism of the working conditions of interns at the firm followed an email reportedly seen by The Architects’ Journal, with a prospective intern highlighting a lack of pay, six-day work weeks, and long office hours.
I think that the conversation with Junya Ishigami at his experimental (and very international) studio in Tokyo was one of the most memorable experiences of my recent trip to Japan. Junya's visions for not just of his own architecture but for the profession were wholeheartedly inspiring. He thinks that architecture today is “not free enough.” He wants to diversify it, liberate it from so many architects’ insistence on following particular building types and, in general, our narrow expectations. He wants his architecture to be soft and loose and finds inspiration in such improbable metaphors as clouds or the surface of water. “We need to introduce more varieties of architecture to better address peoples’ dreams…I want to expand architecture into the future by creating new comfortabilities,” says Ishigami, whose two recent manifesto-like exhibitions in Paris questioned the very nature and purpose of architecture. He is a visionary and essential voice in what is perhaps the most unsettled of all professions.
From March 30 to June 10, 2018, the Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain will host Junya Ishigami's exhibition, Freeing Architecture. This is the first major solo exhibition that the Fondation Cartier in Paris has devoted to an architect, and fitting that it would lend itself to an important and singular figure of Japan's young architecture scene.
Ishigami - winner of the Golden Lion award at the Venice Biennale in 2010 - has instilled this conceptual body of work with his trademark flair: calm, free fluidity, with bright tones and playful curves. The projects in the exhibition range from large scale models to films and drawings, and when placed in the context of the exhibition, they bring to life Jean Nouvel's iconic building as well.
Laurian Ghinitoiu gives us a glimpse inside the exhibition ahead of the opening day tomorrow. His photos reveal the lightness and ethereal quality of Ishigami's hand.
The office of Peter Zumthor has been selected to design an expansion to the Beyeler Foundation, located just outside Zumthor’s childhood home of Basel, Switzerland. The Swiss architect was chosen from a prestigious shortlist of 11 firms to add to the existing museum building, designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop and completed in 1997.
“The sky above Basel, the city and its surroundings–those are the landscapes of my youth,” said Zumthor. “It is heart-warming to be able to design a major building here.”
Qatar Museums has announced a shortlist of eight finalists that will move on to the third and final stage of the Art Mill International Design Competition in Doha. On a site extending into the Arabian Sea that was only recently occupied by Qatar Flour Mills, Art Mill will integrate gallery and exhibition space with facilities for education, events, conservation, art handling, and research. Joining the Museum of Islamic Art designed by I.M. Pei, and the still under-construction National Museum of Qatar, designed by Jean Nouvel, in the words of the competition brief, “Art Mill will and extend and intensify the cultural quarter being developed in Doha.”
Ochoalcubo (Eight-Cubed) is a pioneering project in Chile that seeks to unite leading Chilean and Japanese practices with ground-breaking architecture. The collaborative enterprise was started by Eduardo Godoy, a design impresario who began working in Chile in the 1980s and who has always been a strong advocate for innovative design and architecture in the country. For a nation that boasts more than forty individual schools of architecture, the ever growing number of professionals seems to have had a relatively small impact on Chilean cities. Faced with the seemingly infinite landscape of 'cookie-cutter housing' in the suburbs, Godoy implemented Ochoalcubo in order to provide opportunities for young professionals, alongside fostering a new kind of appreciation for the profession itself. With a large number of architects having taken part in the first stage, including Smiljan Radic (designer of the 2014 Serpentine Pavilion), the third and fourth stage of what is certainly one of the world's largest active architectural laboratories will be launched in the coming days.
See images from all sixteen proposals from third and fourth stages of the Ochoalcubo project, including those by SANAA, Sou Fujimoto, Kengo Kuma, Alejandro Aravena and Atelier Bow Wow, after the break.
The culmination of an international competition for Kinmen County has resulted in five winning and honorable mention schemes that promise to use architecture as a means of elevating the county’s national identify as a maritime gateway. Responding to the need for expansion and the desire to establish the port as a tourism and recreation destination, the Kinmen Harbor Bureau challenged architects to a two-stage competition for an energy-smart, low-carbon, and possibly expandable port that could host a variety of passenger services.
Preview the winning results, 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 '80s, 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.
Above is a video by Vincent Hecht, an architect and filmmaker in France, which highlights the KAIT (Kanagawa Institute of Technology) by Junya Ishigami + Associates. The video is part of a new collection of architecture movies about Japanese architecture. With the relaxing and calming music in the background, you are able to place yourself in the amazing studio and workspace where students get to spend their days designing.
Last week we went to Ingolstadt, Germany, to attend the launch of the Audi Urban Future Initiative. The program, now in its second version, invited a group of six architecture offices from different regions of the world, all with big urban populations, to think about the future of mobility. During this stage, the architects presented their initial research and diagnosis of their respective regions. In October, the architects will present their projects and an overall winner will be announced.
During the event, we had the chance to talk with the architects and ask them about the role of the Architect in our contemporary society.
The first edition of this program took place in 2010, and included Alison Brooks Architects, BIG, Cloud 9, J. MAYER H. and standardarchitecture. You can see J. Mayer’s winning entry previously featured at ArchDaily. More info about the program after the break:
Check out Junya Ishigami and Associates‘ amazing studio + workspace where students of the Kanagawa Institute of Technology get to spend their days designing. The studio is about the closest you can get to the feeling of working outside while being indoors. The floor-to-ceiling glass makes the building appear weightless and elegant, and the open plan preserves the building’s sense of transparency as the viewer’s eye can shoot directly across the uninterrupted space. 305 columns of various sizes support the stripped roof of skylights, yet their white color keeps the focus on the space and the view, not the structure. The columns, although seemingly random, as specifically placed to create the sensation of zoned spaces, but their nonrestrictive quality provides a flexible layout to suit the changing needs of students.
Inspiring place to design in, wouldn’t you agree?