The last ten days or so have been a little busy since I last blogged…a creative overload in three different East Asian cities (Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hong Kong) followed by my (30-1) birthday celebrations, the start of my 29th year. I have so many adventures to fill you in on from PhD Wednesdays, TEDxShanghai, the 7th Shenzhen Sculpture Biennale, the Hong Kong Art Fair 2012 and its associated VIP antics, the Design Art Fashion Fair (D.A.F.F.) in Shanghai, the end of term and student assessment at AIVA, past TXNY Sunday adventures in Wuwei Creative Space, Yangpu, and Gongqing Forest Park, Wujiaochangzhen, a one-night escape at the PuLi Hotel and Spa in Shanghai, of course how my 29th year has begun and what’s to come in the next 12 months. Before all of that, I thought I’d just share a couple of Japanese architectural delights that I came across yesterday that have excited me, fueled me, consumed me…I think I might actually be in love with one of these architectural firms. Also I came across a really critical and well-written blog on architectural narratives called ‘The Funambuilst’…definitely worth following if that’s your world.
So the first delight I came across was the ‘Shiba Ryotaro Memorial Museum’, designed in 2001 by Japanese architect Tadao Ando…specifically the 11 metre high bookcase in the buildings library housing over 20,000 books. ‘With these books the author (Ryotaro) wrote about 500 historical novels, essays, critical essays and many other works. We regard this area as “his other study”. Please sit on the chair looking up at the wall of books and spend time feeling the author’s spirit.’ A definite dream as part of the house I want to build…just look at how far the words climb…how many words do you think are in there? Beautiful!
The second is ‘House S’ by Suga Atelier, an architectural firm that I now love. I want it to feed me forever more with its brutal use of concrete. I love concrete. Just look at the geometric, angular faceted exterior to this house…a harsh injection against the other buildings on the street with no visible windows on the street side. Nice. ‘It is located on a triangular site that is surrounded by roads, ‘House S’ dismisses the use of typical windows and instead features a narrow glass wall recessed into one corner and a glazed atrium that extends down through the centre of all three floors. Rain falls through the nine-sided roof void passes two doughnut-shaped benches and drains into a sunken basin at the lowest level, although canopies can also be folded across the floors for shelter. The house’s concrete walls were formed against plywood, which has been reused to create internal walls, kitchen worktops and the floor of the second storey loft. Floors and walls elsewhere in the house are lined with white plastic panels made from recycled bottles.’ All “eco” minded with a finite attention to detail that runs throughout the structure. I don’t think enough architects think about textures and materials enough…how to integrate them into the fundamental foundations and structure of a building…into its core as much as its interior vision. (Thanks to Dezeen for the information by the way.)
The architects Suga Atelier stated ‘There are things that are hard to see even its existence, unless we find suitable words or expressions. Beside a major road, the house is present, resisting against traffic. When looking through a slit that is protected by walls on both sides like an embrasure on the east side where the site extends, morning sun and the city could be viewed. However, the space is closed when the large entrance door that is the only major aperture is shut down. Yet, the space is always wide open to the sky by the light court positioning in the center of the space that is slightly deformed in the shape of “L” due to the entrance. The idea was to express the light absorbing shining cocoon in addition to insulation and sound-proofing. The space became very quiet and pure like a deep cave. The sense of walking onto it is like tatami-mat and the elastic walls are almost like a cushion.’ Having not experienced this house, without being or living in there, I have no reality as to what it must feel like…but I have the impression that you would feel very enclosed, secure, protected…with no distraction due to the use of simple interior materials…invoking a sense purity through minimal visual abstraction of space. I’d like to feel this in all the spaces I negotiate in life. Purity of space, purity of mind.