Atelier Hitoshi Abe


Deeply influenced by oriental philosophy, the architecture of Hitoshi Abe aims to abolish the western opposition of mind versus matter. Abe breathes life into his projects and his installations by designing flexible, adaptable and evolving construction systems. In Hot Links (New Orleans, currently in progress), he is developing the principle of the duplex designed for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, in which occupants will have the possibility of choosing from among 45 different configurations. The architect seeks to restore the unity of people with their environment, notably thanks to cutting edge technologies that now enable humanity to go beyond its physical limits. For Abe, “form is only justified in the continuity between the outside and the inside.” His architecture often emerges out of conflicts between a program, technical constraints and a particular site. With the Shirasagi Bridge (Shiroishi, 1993-94), he encloses the original bridge with a second structure dictated by the needs of the situation (weight, position of public lighting systems, water level, stability, etc.). Thus, architectural form is no longer decided a priori but is obtained a posteriori, as if it results from the tension between the body and its different parameters.

A graduate of SCI-Arc (1989) with a PhD in architecture from Tohoku University (1992), Hitoshi Abe (Sendai, 1962) worked in the Coop Himmelb(l)au studio in Los Angeles from 1988 to 1992. In 1993, he founded the Atelier Hitoshi Abe in Sendai and in 2000 achieved international recognition by winning the competition for the Miyagi Stadium. In 2009, he opened a second office in Los Angeles. Abe also teaches (Tohoku University, 1994-2007; UC Berkeley; Professor at UCLA since 2007) and has won numerous prizes (International Architecture Awards, 2007; Architectural Institute of Japan Award, 2009). In addition, Abe has been the subject of several publications (Hitoshi Abe Flicker, 2005; Naomi Pollock, Hitoshi Abe, 2008) and his projects are regularly exhibited around the globe (ArchiLab Japan, 2006; SCI-Arc Gallery, Los Angeles, 2010).

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