Event report: talk series at Hikarie featuring Hiroshi Hara, Ryue Nishizawa modalated by Ryuji Fujimura

2018 TRIENNALEEVENT REPORTPosted : December 12, 2017

On 18 November 2017, the talk series highlighted one of the main exhibitions for ETAT2018, "Spatial designs of 10 square feet and their development". Hiroshi Hara and Ryue Nishizawa, architects and judges for the open call excahged views on "hojo" and "homogeneous space" with a moderator, Ryuji Fujimura.

Fujimura first introduced "Hojoki shiki" by Hotta Yoshie who read about a society in the Middle Ages described by Chomei Kamono in "Hojoki" as he interpreted the society with his own experience of the war. Fujimura then opened a conversation with a question "how can we read "Hojoki" today"?

Hara explained where he began: "criticising homogenous space". When he started his career as an architect around 1968-1970 was a peak of the student activism. The dominant thought coming from Newtonian then was "the world is consist of the same element and everything is homogeneous". However, he was not comfortable as Einstein had proved in his theory of relativity that space is not the same and space and light can be curved by gravity. However, the consistency was regarded highly as an important idea in modern architecture while expansion of the capitalism and homogeneousing of architecture take place at the same time. To critisise homogeneous space is to review the process of modernisation itself. Hara pursued dividing homogeneous space by introducing "a room with air conditioning function" while keeping the consistency of skyscrapers. You will begin to see the entire picure as you see the details and this turning is localism.

He then talked about Hojoki. Chomei Kamono was pursuing localism as he reduced the living room to the size of four tatami-matt space, exploring somethign local in order to see the essense of living space. As a result, one was able to see the outer world as he tried to see interior space. It is something what we need as of today (2017). When mentioning "open call for proposal" based upon this idea, he continued "shiki is great. it is a private essays so you don't have to take responsibility. I think it would be very difficult to realise if you are too serious. I am not sure if you can build something extravagant within allocated budget. So please be creative and resourceful".

Nishizawa then introduced "Moriyama House" as a case study. Moriyama House is an apartment consisting of many boxes in different sizes and you don't which of these boxes comprise one apartment. When designing he discovered that architecture has interesting element as how a gap inbetween spaces can become a garden or dead space. He tried the relation between garden and house by putting bath outdoor or reducing the size of bath helped rediscover garden. He agrees that he also feels the entire space throughout the process of reducing a size of one element. Answering a question by Fujimura "what kind of space inspires you currently?", Nishizawa said "spaces that are connected and disconnected in between city (outside) and architecture (inside).". EPFL Learning Centre was one of the examples from his design as the building is lifted and visitors have to go through some steps (i.e. going through under the buidling) before entering into the innter space. He also mentioned approaches taken by Le Corbusier and it is interesting to explore how city gets closer to architecture.

Hara concluded as follows: "The reason why the World Trade Centre was attached by the terrorist on 911 was not because they were tall skyscrapers and symbolic. Rather it may well be a manifastation of objection to a dominant idea then that the world was all the same althought the execusion was not a good way." "Culture may be creating a homogeneous world. It provide appropriate temperature and light and the world without it is not comfortable. However whether it is same anywhere you go is a different story. It continuously eraborates. Homogeneity is deeply embedded into our society but I wouldn't like it if we have to live according to set standard. We always deal with inconsistency. And we could regard homogeneity existing as one of contradictions."

When asked tips for those considering to entre the open call for proposal by Fujimura, Hara said "the boundary is important. "You come out when try to go inside" also requires a boundary. Young architects tend to do as much as they could but it would be best if you set a simple theme to pursue". Nishizawa said "how you connect a space for physical experience with an environmental space is a key question. Something that one can feel the surrounding environment is much better than than just a box. I always find it interesting to see how to build a space as it tells you where your thought come from". There are a quite number of people in the audience who took note during the talk followed by a briefing of the open call. We can't wait to see what sort of ideas will be submitted to the open call.

Click ≫here for details of Open Call, The Hojoki Shiki in 2018 ―Spatial designs of 10 square feet and their development.