Good evening. Thank you all so very
much for being here. It’s a really special occasion
to be able to welcome back Toyo Ito to the GSD. As you know. Ito-san is a friend
of the school. He’s been involved with the
school for a number of years. And I think many of us feel
lucky to have him as a friend and so committed to all
his various activities, involvements with the school. The lecture that Ito-san
is going to give tonight is really being
presented, as you’ve seen from the poster outside,
under the rubric of the Kenzo Tange lecture. And I’m sure everyone in this
room knows who Kenzo Tange was. And I’m not going to ask
for any “raise your hands” or anything like that. I don’t want to
get into trouble. But you should know
that the school has had a very, very long
history of connections with Japan. And so much of actually what
is happening today in terms of, for example, our celebration
of the work of Fumihiko Maki and others–
[? taniguchi-san– ?] this grows out of the relationship
with the school when they were actually students here. And so we feel very connected
to contemporary Japanese architecture, but really
to the lineage, the history of this architecture as well. We’ve had a very long
history of something like 25-plus years of
connection with the Kenzo Tange professorship,
which is something that happens here every year. And in the fall, Toyo Ita taught
at the studio based in Tokyo, the studio abroad, where he
was the Kenzo Tange professor, and he now gives the
lecture this semester. But we’re very happy
that he’s here. He’s also here with
one of his colleagues, Julia Lee, who’s
also an architect. And we’re very happy
that she’s here. And both Julia and Ito-san
have been collaborating with a series of studios that
have been happening in Japan. It started in 2011 when they
dealt with the [? tohoko ?] region. Then this past fall, they focus
on an island called Omishima. And next fall, we will
have another studio that will be working on
the island of Omishima. And in fact, this
morning, Ito-san a made the presentation for
this studio for next fall. That will be located in Tokyo,
but actually the project will be based in Omishima. I think everyone
knows that Ito-san has had a very long history
of connections to really doing amazing architecture,
and architecture that is also very much
linked with issues of nature. Landscape has played an
important part in his work. But more recently,
I think he has also become increasingly
involved in the relationship between the architectural,
if you like, landscape issues
and social issues. And this has been obviously
demonstrated by the work that he’s done in the area,
the tsunami-hit area in Japan, in the way in which
he has also organized a kind of collaborative
of contemporary Japanese architects to really
think through some of these big issues that
face Japan as a collective, rather than as
individual practices. And it’s exemplified by a
move towards the smaller scale and really using, if you like,
a kind of acupuncture urbanism to develop a series of
small scale projects that are also more easy to
construct, more manageable. But they can also have
much more direct impact in terms of how quickly they can
be built, the kind of audiences that they can address. And so I think that that has
been a very noticeable shift. And I think this
has been something that is very much
reflected in the teaching that he has been doing with us. Obviously, it’s also
important to mention that this kind of continuity
of this kind of work also goes hand in hand with
focus on much larger scale projects like the very
well-known Sendai media tech and its focus on the
interrelationship between the architectural,
the structural, and really a different kind of
conception of the public, and many other projects such as
the Taichung Opera House, which he will show us also tonight,
which is about to open officially later in the year. Ito-san has also of course
been recognized in 2013 with the Pritzker Prize,
with the Golden Lion award at the Venice Biennale. And he’s someone that I think
is truly deserving of all the recognition that is
out there for architects, because he’s really
unbelievably committed to the creation of ideas,
developing incredible places, and making an important
contribution to society through architecture. So please join me in welcoming
Toyo Ito and Julia Lee. [applause] Thank you very much, Mohsen-san. And I am very happy to
give a lecture here. This evening I want to speak
about how I create places. I always don’t like
to divide spaces. For me, the space is just
void, expanding unlimitedly. When I design spaces,
I put some elements. Sometimes it’s columns,
or sometimes it’s natural light or many elements
in the void of spaces. Between these elements,
there comes different places like swirls in the stream
or ripples in the water. I explain some example, but
my English is very slow. So I’m sorry. I asked Julia Lee from my office
in Tokyo translating Japanese to English. The first drawing is very old. It’s– [speaking japanese] So this sketch of
his actually shows a really fundamental principle
behind his architecture. [speaking japanese] So it is still very
common until this day when during the
sakura season, people will congregate under
the sakura blossom trees. But actually, back
in the older days, they used to use this
kind of fabric screen to actually create a place. [speaking japanese] The most important thing
is the people actually choose where they want to be. [speaking japanese] So the main point is
how people would choose the place they want to be. For example, obviously
in this situation, they would find
maybe the best tree they want to be under,
or more importantly, how the views are at that
place, whether the ground is dry or wet, whether the
wind blows through the space enough or not. So they choose
their place almost with their animal instincts. [speaking japanese] So this is an image
showing how ripples would dissipate in water. [speaking japanese] So actually, the way
the waves dissipate as you saw in the
video just now is very similar to how Japanese
language is structured. He feels that the way that the
language is positioned in space is very similar to how a
ripple is dissipating in void. [speaking japanese] So very different from
the English language, Japanese language is
basically structured in a way that there are these
key elements that are floating in the space. [speaking japanese] There’s no strict structure
to how you conduct a sentence. So in Japanese language, it’s up
to the people’s interpretation and also into the
person who speaks. They can choose their own
words and how they structure it accordingly. [speaking japanese] So similarly for
architecture, he has the same
principle behind it. [speaking japanese] For example, in the Sendai
Mediatheque, as you all know, we have 13 tubes in one
plan in the building. So these are the elements
in the architecture. [speaking japanese] So in this case, because
the tubes are also a structural element, that is
what dictates their positioning and so on. [speaking japanese] So this is the National Taichung
Theatre, which we are actually building in Taichung. [speaking japanese] So in this case,
the tubes basically interconnect vertically
and horizontally in a three-dimensional manner. But basically, the
thought behind it is very similar to what
Sendai Mediatheque is doing. [speaking japanese] So in this case,
the third building is the GIFU Media Cosmos. It’s a library complex that
was complete last year. We will go into
more detail later, but basically it’s
also the same principle where we have these
globes that we call places and elements in this space. [speaking japanese] In his architectural
image, there is never a confinement
to the architecture. It actually should always
dissipate infinitely. [speaking japanese] So in actual case, you
can see obviously there’s an envelope to the building. But to him, it’s not really
considered as a facade. It’s actually a
sectional cut, so that it’s actually meant to
continue infinitely in space. [speaking japanese] It’s the same image when
he designs furniture. [speaking japanese] Even for product design, it
also embodies the same language. [speaking japanese] So when he makes
architecture, he often refers more to the
making of Japanese gardens rather than making of
Japanese architecture. [speaking japanese] So as you all know,
this is really a well-known Japanese
garden, Katsura Rikyu, which was built 400
years ago in Kyoto. [speaking japanese] So from the top, where he
pointed just now at the top is where you would enter
the entire premise. But then you’ll walk slowly
into the main building. And around the pond
which is in the middle, we have these elements that
are scattering around the pond. [speaking japanese] For example, tea
houses, resting places, or even like a symbolic tree,
these elements basically create places around this pond. [speaking japanese] So there is no defined way
of connecting these places. [speaking japanese] So with these different
types of complex elements, every person individually
would choose the way they experience the garden. So every person has a
different experience of the Japanese garden. [speaking japanese] Even in the micro
way of designing in these Japanese
gardens, you can see these stepping
stones are also, rather than all
forcefully connected, they’re all scattered. [speaking japanese] So your views and
directional views would change as you move across
these different elements. [speaking japanese] So you can see that
there is a combination of different elements here,
even for stepping stones, where people can actually
choose their own path. [speaking japanese] You can see it’s a very
beautiful of using stone. [speaking japanese] So we now go on to a project
that was back in 1976, as one of his earliest works. And back at the time, he already
has this notion with him. [speaking japanese] So this was built when
he was 36 years old. And you can see that
the design was– he was determined to create this
really kind of rigid design. So this is courtyard. [speaking japanese] So this whole length
of this internal space is almost 15 meters long. But by using light
as an instrument, he creates these
different places also in the architecture. [speaking japanese] So for example, light
coming from the top, where he’s pointing now, or light
coming from horizontally. And again, the right from the
top and the right from the top. [speaking japanese] So then you get these zones
of light and dark, darkness, that are dissipated
across the space. [speaking japanese] Although it’s a
very simple U shape, we have these little
elements where he would change the curvature
of the curve at places and sometimes where he
would introduce a corner. So these small elements
and details actually create these places also. [speaking japanese] So the light coming from
the horizontal direction would create a very bright
space at the dining area. But with a slight
change in curvature, you can see that there is a zone
that is slightly talk behind the curved wall. [speaking japanese] So we’ve go on to
Sendai Mediatheque. [speaking japanese] So this is a model created
during a competition submission for the Sendai
Mediatheque in 1995. [speaking japanese] So it’s a very simple
composition of tubes and plates that intersect each other. [speaking japanese] So this is one of the earliest
sketches in his notebook. And if you can look at
the top sketch, actually again you can see
the ripple concept. [speaking japanese] So in between these
tubes, basically you will see that there
are these ripples that form in places that would
happen between these tubes. [speaking japanese] So now we look at how
these places basically happen between the
tubes in actual life after its completion. [speaking japanese] So basically there are
seven different flows. And with the tubes in
a similar location, you would imagine
a similar plan, but by using different furniture
combinations and compositions actually different places
can be experienced. [speaking japanese] This furniture was designed
by Kazuyo Sejima-san. [speaking japanese] So the ability for
the users to choose where they want to be
in terms of a place is very important for
him in his making, in all his architecture. [speaking japanese] So through tubes, you
create relationships even between flows as well. [speaking japanese] So next, we go on to
the National Taichung Theater, which started
exactly 10 years ago. [speaking japanese] So finally, the building
is almost complete. [speaking japanese] So Mohsen was in the jury
for this competition. [laughter] Thank you very much. [speaking japanese] He’s really grateful for you,
because a project like this will never happen in Japan. [speaking japanese] So at the time of
the competition, there were hardly any
of these high rises. But after over years and years,
there a lot of real estates and a lot of buildings
happening around the area. [speaking japanese] So this is within a
large development. So the building is within
a landscape design. [speaking japanese] So if we look at the
ground floor plan again, you can see how the landscape is
interconnected to the internal spaces and how
the tubes are also interconnected in the space. [speaking japanese] So this is the structure of
the building, as you can see. As we mentioned earlier
for the Sendai Mediatheque, the tubes were basically
positioned with respect to the structural
calculations and they were positioned in a
certain way that the span is limited to how the span works. But here, it’s very different. It’s a complete different story. So he was saying that actually,
the way this was built was from a grid. And it was deformed
slowly and then it becomes a
three-dimensional grid. [speaking japanese] So you can see that here,
we have three main theaters within this opera house. The first one is the grand
theater, the red one, with 2000 seats. The second one, we call
the playhouse in blue. It has 800 seats. And the third one, the smallest
one, we call it the black box. And it’s basically
situated underground, so it’s connected to
the landscape as well. [speaking japanese] So this is a video
of the algorithm. [speaking japanese] So actually, a pattern,
a different pattern happens on every floor if you
cut through the structure. And it’s smoothed afterwards
here, as you can see. [speaking japanese] So it’s basically
formed from two groups of tubes that are
interconnected both vertically and horizontally. [speaking japanese] So now we can move on
to the sectional movie. [speaking japanese] So this is actually a video made
by cutting through the building at 10 centimeters apart. [speaking japanese] If you do the same
in [? plan, ?] you get the same video
probably– same effect. [speaking japanese] So this is an almost
complete ground level. This is the fifth floor– [speaking japanese] –where the offices, restaurant,
and gallery will happen. [speaking japanese] This is a photo of
the construction site where the roof was
about to be cast. [speaking japanese] This is a very interesting,
poetic photo actually, showing a cave-like
situation, but looking into the modern
city from a cave. [speaking japanese] This is a photo of
the construction site at the grand foyer. [speaking japanese] So this slide
basically shows how we construct this structure. And we call this the
truss wall construction. [speaking japanese] So you can see the
yellow highlighted when exploded on the right. Basically, it’s composed
of linear truss units. [speaking japanese] So at 20 centimeters pitch,
these linear truss elements will come together. [speaking japanese] Actually, the curvature
basically varies very slightly. So by combining these
linear elements, you could create a
three-dimensionally curved unit. [speaking japanese] So on both sides
of this truss unit, we would attach mesh
onto both sides. And then the concrete
would basically be poured into this truss unit. [speaking japanese] So this is a movie
at the construction site showing how it’s done. [speaking japanese] So at the ground
level near the site, this is where the truss
units are being made. [speaking japanese] So the workers would mark out
by hand these units and outline of the units and then
they would attach– as you can see in
the video, they would attach the bars, the
steel bars, accordingly. [speaking japanese] So you can see that actually,
the same rule applies everywhere in this building. But actually, it’s a really
tedious task for the workers. [speaking japanese] So now they’re connecting
it horizontally. [speaking japanese] So these walls are basically
split up into units. They are transportable
to the site, and then you can
see that they are hoisted in a manageable size. So they’re attaching
the mesh now. So there are two
types of meshes, and they’re basically combining
it, pouring the concrete. [speaking japanese] So when the concrete
is set, the mesh is removed, as you can see. [speaking japanese] So about two years
or three years of the same tedious
construction. It just went on on-site. [speaking japanese] So last year in the
fall, the building was opened temporarily
for one month, and only the Grand Theater. So you can see this is
the finished condition. [speaking japanese] So this is the foyer
for the playhouse that was the medium-sized
one that houses 800 people. [speaking japanese] This painting on
the wall was done by a local Taiwanese artist. [speaking japanese] So this playhouse is actually
experiencing the most delays, but now we finally can
see it finishing up. [speaking japanese] So the Grand Theater
will officially open on the 30th of
September this year, whereas for this
playhouse, there will be an event or performance
such on the 1st and 2nd of October by a pianist. And her name is Mukaiyama
Tomoko from Holland. And we’re designing the
stage design for it as well. [speaking japanese] The stage design
basically uses fabric and is quite complex as well. [speaking japanese] So this is a black box that was
the third performance space. And it’s from the underground. But it’s connected to the
landscape, as you can see, into an amphitheater. [speaking japanese] This is the roof
garden as of now, but he anticipates the
plant to crawl up further. [speaking japanese] So the landscape and
the park around it is already open and usable. So you can see that
everyday people would use this public space. [speaking japanese] So during nighttime, we
would have these projections on the wall of the
building as well as these light-ups, what they
would have maybe performance outside. [speaking japanese] You can see the pools
are being used really well by the children. [speaking japanese] So we move on to the next
project, the Minna-no-Mori Gifu Media Cosmos, which was
complete last year in summer. [speaking japanese] So this building has
a similar program to Sendai Mediatheque, however
it only has two stories. [speaking japanese] So one plan is 90
meters by 80 meters. It’s a very large plan. [speaking japanese] And flanking the west side,
we have these series of trees. [speaking japanese] Along the south side,
there will be a city hall. It’s not built, yet but they are
planning to build a city hall. [speaking japanese] So you already saw this
plan just now earlier. On this plan, basically
this is the library. And we have 11 globes
that are basically suspended above the space. [speaking japanese] So this is a sketch, an early
sketch during the competition phase. And you can see
that these globes actually creating
a spiral movement like a whirlpool around it. And it just infinitely
expands outwards. [speaking japanese] This is the south facade. [speaking japanese] So this is the west
promenade of trees. And this promenade
is open a year before the building opened. [speaking japanese] So around the
building, again there are all these public
events and activities that happen in these areas. [speaking japanese] So this is a very important
conceptual diagram that shows how we
want to allow energy efficiency in this building. [speaking japanese] So around this area,
groundwater is very abundant. And so basically we want to
use this as much as possible and maybe control the
temperature only slightly, using this heated or
slightly cooled water and feed it into the floor
slabs for both the ground floor and the second floor. [speaking japanese] So that means that we have
radiant heating or cooling flow system. [speaking japanese] So you can see that actually
the radiant floor panels, there’s an air movement
that is generated from this. And basically, with the globe,
as you can see in the section, during summertime
the heated air, the really hot air
that is collected at the top of the roof will
be dissipated on the top. You can see in the diagram. And during winter,
that top opening will be closed so
that the hot air is collected under the globe. And natural light is coming
down around the globe. [speaking japanese] We also put solar panels
on some parts of the roof. [speaking japanese] We actually had a target
to allow for this building to perform with an energy
cut of 50% in comparison to a normal building
of this size. So this is actually our proposal
during the competition stage. But in actual fact, we have
almost reached at target. [speaking japanese] So another important
point for this roof is that it’s made out
of timber slats, which are in a very domestically
available size, locally harvested
timber, so that it’s very readily available. [speaking japanese] So as a first step, we used
plywood to make a mold. And on top, we have layers and
layers of these timber slats in three different directions. So they basically are
stacked on top of each other. And the size is about two
centimeters by 12 centimeters. [speaking japanese] This is a video
taken using a drone. [speaking japanese] So where the roof connects
to the steel column, we have almost as much as 21
layers of these timber slats. [speaking japanese] So for the top areas where
the air is dissipated just now in the section diagram,
it’s almost half of that amount of layers. [speaking japanese] We collaborated with
[? kanada-san ?] from [? arap, ?] for this project. [speaking japanese] So you saw the more dense
areas are where the columns are connecting the roof underneath. [speaking japanese] After this construction,
above this, we had to put plywood and
insulation as well as a surface layer on top with a
waterproofing layer as well. [speaking japanese] You can see that
at one time, there were almost 150 workers on
the roof, working on the roof. [speaking japanese] So this is the
ground floor plan. And you can see in the middle,
which is encased in glass, is the closed stack for
the books that are closed. But they’re physical. [speaking japanese] So in all four
directions– north, south, east, and west– people
can come into the building as freely as they want. [speaking japanese] So where he’s pointing now
is a multi-purpose hall, which houses 200 people. [speaking japanese] Below it is the gallery space– [speaking japanese] –an open gallery space that
also opens out to the outside. [speaking japanese] And that’s a restaurant
on the left hand. [speaking japanese] So on the west side is when
the workshop areas are. There are also
these counters where the local citizens can consult
about their daily matters. [speaking japanese] And are also these studios
where people can rent and use. [speaking japanese] This is an open gallery. In this photo, you
can see that there are workshops for the kids. [speaking japanese] This is a community
activity center, where, as we explained earlier,
the citizens would use freely. [speaking japanese] So Gifu City is a city of
population 400,000 people. And this base, ever
since it’s completed, we calculated almost 6,000
to 7,000 people a day using this building. [speaking japanese] This is a grand tatami space. Gallery space outside floor. It’s also using outside gallery. [speaking japanese] So this is facing the
promenade in the west. [speaking japanese] So you would proceed from the
first flow to the second flow through escalator
into the first globe. And you’ll see as you
arrive the concierge globe. [speaking japanese] In the middle area
further down in the path, you would see a reference globe. [speaking japanese] So around the globes
that we just explained, we have these other reading
globes and study globes as well as browsing
globes, research globes. [speaking japanese] So you can go around the
globes and into these areas where the shelves are around. And you can actually browse
for what you want to read. [speaking japanese] So rather than
having the shelves ordered in a parallel
direction, having it in kind of a whirlpool formation
is much easier for them to refer to what
books they want. [speaking japanese] So there are two
kids’ globes as well. [speaking japanese] So we also provide
outdoor spaces where people can read
books, for example, the one on the south, which
has ample, nice soft lights. And on the east,
facing the east there is the mountainous
scenery, scenic terrace. And on the west we have
a terrace that sets back called the promenade terrace. [speaking japanese] So you can feel as
if you’re basically slowly sucked in onto into
the second floor by the globe. [speaking japanese] So there are 11 globes in total
that are hung from the roof. [speaking japanese] We collaborate with one of the
most famous signage designers, Hara Kenya for this signage. [speaking japanese] So from that point, you
can see which direction you should go for certain books. [speaking japanese] So on that top of
the plinth, you can see a floor plan where
each globe is located, and then the number for that globe. [speaking japanese] So the shelves are
designed so that they don’t go further
than five levels so that it’s low enough
for an adult person to have their vision
basically connected throughout the entire building. [speaking japanese] So there are four
sizes of globes. There’s an 8 meter in
diameter, 10, 12, and 14. The biggest is the 14. [speaking japanese] So the globe consists of
polyester fabric to begin with, and on top, basically
added fabric with the different
patterns as you can see. [speaking japanese] For example, this is a globe
where you can relax and read. [speaking japanese] So when you’re
under the globe, we have actually designed
the height of the globe so that you feel enclosed,
almost like an interior. But it’s not
completely enclosed. [speaking japanese] So you can see this
is quite interesting. It’s a design for the sofa. And you can see that facing
the inside of the globe and outside of the globe
we have a different height for the seats. [speaking japanese] So when you’re facing inside
the globe and outside the globe, you would have a
different posture. [speaking japanese] So there are also
globes where the kids would be very hardworking
and working at a desk, as you can see. [speaking japanese] This is small kids globe. [speaking japanese] So you can see this is a
terrace on the second floor. [speaking japanese] You also have counter spaces
that are facing outside. [speaking japanese] So same for other projects–
this is also very important, where the uses for
of this building can choose where
they want to be. Night view. This is the last slide. In 10 days in Japan, cherry
blossom is full bloom. So please come to Japan. Thank you very much. [applause] So we would like to
have a few questions. And one thing that I should
have mentioned at the beginning is that the last time
that Ito-san was here, we also had an exhibition
of Kyonori Kikutake. And Ito-san was very
important in really trying to enable their making
of that exhibition at that time. Just before then, we had
spent quite a lot of time with Kikutake-san,
and unfortunately he passed away just before
we had the exhibition. And Ito-san had worked
with Kyonori Kikutake and was one of the members
of the metabolists. Just in the past few
weeks, we’ve actually now have a book which
is partly based on the exhibition, but partly
also something independent. And it’s been edited
by Ken Tadashi Oshima. And Ito-san has also
written in that book, and there are some photographs
of him when he was very young and had just started
working in the office. But also Mark Mulligan
has a piece in there, and a number of really
wonderful things. I think the book is
available in the library. And so I should
have mentioned that. The other thing is
that here, we are also lucky this semester
to have Atelier Bauer. So I think there’s
a kind of continuity that is going on in the school. And it’s wonderful that
Mori-san is also here with us. Some of these works
that Ito-san is showing has a kind of resonance
in terms of what is happening in a way in
terms of the groups of people who are in Japan. But also I hope
that it demonstrates our kind of seriousness
towards embracing these projects and this work. So Ito-san, one question
that I will have, maybe because I’m
sure there’ll be other people who will ask you. I wonder what you
think about this, what I would say disjunction
or this slight difference that exists between the idea
of working on projects like Taichung Opera House, which
are very much based on very sophisticated tools–
computation tools, modeling tools– to really understand
the formation of these projects as idea. Because these are very
difficult to draw. And therefore you really
need the sophistication of tools and techniques
and technology to bring about
sectional building, like the Taichung Opera House. At the same time, it seems
that if you are left alone, if you’re left to
your own devices, you’re still someone
who really loves craft. You seem to appreciate just the
sheer labor of architecture– people working hard. You are not a very
industrialization kind of person. It’s all about the workers. It’s all about the welding. It’s all about how much
effort goes into that. Sometimes it seems–
and you and I have talked about
this thing– sometimes it seems that the
craft can’t be quite as precise as the computation. And the computation
cannot be as imprecise, which is also important
as the making. So what do you feel? What do you think
about this idea of the relationship
between tools and precision and the reality of construction? What thoughts do
you have about that? [speaking japanese] So firstly, he
wants to say that he thinks it’s very important
for him to work with people. When he designs architecture,
he would collaborate with the staff who
would do computing maybe and with structural engineers. They do the calculations. Obviously, he would work with
local people and the community as well. So of course he would
have an original, maybe, a notion of a building. But as the project
goes on, he would communicate with all
these different people. And then the project would then
basically evolve accordingly. And he thinks that to think
about building alone, just by himself, he can
only get so far. But by working with
people, his project would excel much further. [speaking japanese] So obviously, as
Mohsen has said, the computer technique
is so precise. But then at the end of the
day when you’re building it, it’s always down to the
hands of the workers. So there’s a contradicting
kind of condition that he always would feel. [speaking japanese] So especially when in Japan,
where the construction techniques are so advanced and
the construction workers really have pride in what they
make and what they build, he thinks that in Japan when
he’s building buildings, he’s been blessed by the
advancement of the construction industry. [speaking japanese] So when the building is
complete, the more people that would say, oh, I built this. I actually am involved in the
building of this building– the more people who say this,
the better the architecture becomes. Is that a good answer for you? Oh, it’s just that next week–
some of you may not know– but next week we
are going to have a kind of conference in London
which will be at the Leadenhall Building. And this is a building
which is otherwise known as “The Cheesegrater.” Maybe many of you have seen it. It’s a building by Rogers,
Stirk, and Harbour. And last semester,
we had Graham Stirk, who is the designer of the
building come and give a talk. And he– this is a very
high rise building. He made the point that
this was a building that was built with 300 people. Ito-san just has 300
people on the roof. But in that building, 75%
percent of the construction material is made offsite. And basically, it’s a high
rise that is assembled. So I think this issue of a
kind of– it’s not resistance, but in some ways, a kind
of some form of resisting industrialization
and actually putting the emphasis on the labor
is something interesting. But related to that, it
seems that, for example, with the Gifu project, the
roof, and ways with Taichung, there’s also something
now about multiple layers, about density, about weight. And so does that mean that
the next building will just get thicker and
thicker and there’ll be more layers because
there’ll be more people working on the site? Is that the theory? It’s just a joke. [laughter] I didn’t joke that long. [laughter] [speaking japanese] So he’s explaining
that of course, sometimes it’s
inevitable to have a lot of people
involved, especially on a construction site. But he’s saying that there is
a difference between computing techniques and
people’s hands crafts. But maybe he didn’t
show the projects today, but for example at Todd’s, the
building at Todd’s, as well as there’s a [inaudible]
project in Fukuoka. Also, the people involved, they
both understand the computer graphics as well as making
with their own hands. So it’s actually–
sometimes you get people who are involved in both. And it’s not just a gap
between the difference between the computer and the
hands is not sometimes not so evident. [speaking japanese] So he’s explaining that
he recently visited a site last year in October in Mexico. It’s a museum–
sorry, in December. And at the time, there
were almost 1,000 people on the site. But he is not sure
that everyone was a worker, because
there were kids and there were family members. So it’s very strange. But then he feels
that maybe it’s not so bad to have the
construction site already becoming a community on site. So he finds it quite amusing. [speaking japanese] So in Japan, for
Japanese construction, you will see obviously
the absolute opposite of how they would try to
reduce the number of workers as much as possible and make
it as efficient as possible. He thinks that maybe
that’s also another extreme and he actually prefers maybe
the more humane situation on site. Any questions? Please, we have some mics. And anybody else,
if I could just know if you plan to ask a question. It will help us. Anyone from the back? Yes? First, thank you so
much for your talk. And I really liked what you said
about the beginning about where the ripples and there’s no
confinement in your design and always dissipate
this kind of things. But I also wonder that, because
I’m also from an Eastern culture, I can understand
this kind of philosophy and/or spirit or something. But they’re not something
that’s completely logical. So they have, like, guidelines
for you to guide your design. So I was wondering, how can
you adopt this kind of thing into your designs? Is there a certain
way of training that you can approach to this? For example, I
really liked the way how you arrange the stones
and things like that. [speaking japanese] So, to answer your
question, obviously there needs to be a balance between
the spiritual and the logic. And that he thinks
that, for example, when he builds the
home for all, there’s a lot of logic involved. But at the end of the day, the
aim is to open towards nature. So either way–
sometimes he would justify a way of creating
a place here or there. And it’s basically,
he’s ultimately trying to open out,
connect more to nature. So it’s actually kind
of a counterargument to what modernism does. And he wants to
propose something that is more positive in that sense. Ito-san, thank you. You showed Sendai and
Taichung back to back. And I thought of a
project in between them, an American project
that wasn’t realized, the Berkeley Art Museum, as
sort of perhaps a stepping stone between those projects. And I wondered if
that’s true at all and if the museum’s
inability to be realized was partially due to labor,
which Mohsen has brought up. If you could just
speak to those things. [speaking japanese] So actually the design concept
for the Berkeley museum was after the concept,
after Taichung came out. And so actually, the
Berkeley Art Museum although unfortunately
wasn’t realized, the concept was used later on
in the Mexican museum project that we just talked
about, where there were a lot of workers on the site. So that is basically
being reapplied, which means that
actually to him, Taichung is more directly related
to Sendai in comparison to Berkeley Art Museum. Ito-san, thank you very much. Everyone is going
to come on join you with the cherry blossom
in 10 days’ time. So thank you again. And thank you, Julia.

14 thoughts on “Kenzo Tange Lecture: Toyo Ito, “Tomorrow’s Architecture””

  1. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to hear the presentation but a real shame that there are many images that unfocused.

  2. Got a chance to see this lecture in Singapore last year. The slides were amazing. Its unfortunate that they blurred most here.

  3. As much as I like his earlier works and think Ito is a genuine guy, the quality of finish to the Taichung Opera House is painful to watch and ultimately sinks the staggering construction and engineering effort invested. I understand the ambitious nature of it, however it is a real shame.

  4. lol to that premise… if you truly want to embrace nature… doo all your design with the premise to keep ppl away from nature… 99% of people are just bad when it comes to protecting nature… thus most of it is gone already…. stop the pot dreams… keep ppl away from forest and spend resources into reforestation and pooling human invaders out of the rain forests…

  5. I had the pleasure of visiting the Sendai Mediatheque some years ago. It is worth the day trip from Tokyo to see the building. 
    What you cannot see from pictures is the wonderful contextual situation of the street. The vehicular traffic is along two avenues separated by a tree-lined, linear pedestrian greenway. Although the project maintains a strong presence on a corner, the small blocks of the urban grid creates the perception of an infill situation. The scale of the building gracefully dominates the context through transparency and reflectivity of the exterior envelope. The approach along the center greenway is impressive. The urban condition, materiality and frontal positioning is closely related to Nouvel's Cartier Center in Paris. 
    Although the building's interior organization is open and uninspiring, the cylindrical vertical structural shafts makes up for it. In a perfect world, I would propose to remove all the building's partitions, leaving only the structure, exterior envelope, vertical circulation and floor plates remaining. The Sendai Mediatheque is the most important work of Japanese architecture of this generation.
    I made the trip with my cousin and it was a surreal experience because it transcended language. Imagine, two people unable to communicate verbally, go off on a splendid adventure filled with minced words, hand gestures, funny faces and laughs. It was as if urbanism was the language that connected us as we quietly meandered through the city. The quietness added a sonic element to the visual spectacle. I enjoy traveling alone and it was such a joy to have a quiet moment alone; with family.
    Sendai is compact and Sendai Castle is within walking distance across the river from Toyo Ito's work. Also, a short train ride takes you to the town of Nikko, which is the burial place of Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu. I recommend spending a few hours in Nikko. The architecture along with the feel of nature and place is amazing.

  6. I don't understand why blurring the images, if the idea is to share information then show everything, it's not a hit and run!

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