Through the spaces he creates, Shuhei Endo explores new architectural possibilities, many of which are based on the utilization of a basic, low-cost industrial material, i.e., corrugated iron. “I am striving to design architecture that can be integrative, open the possibility of creating relationships and foster the dynamics of exchange,” the architect explains. In the 1990s, he experimented with the concept of “Folding Architecture,” presenting his theories in the March 1993 issue of Architectural Design. His approach relies on two key concepts: “renzokutai” (continuity) and “bunyutai” (partial separation). In his work Shuhei Endo also seeks to go beyond rather than reject Modernist plasticity. He refers to a concept called “para-modern,” a word he coined meaning that while he believes in keeping the light and abstract qualities of Modernist architecture, he shuns its uniformity. He achieves this by experimenting with continuous ribbon structures and torsion. His spectacular and instantly identifiable buildings are grouped in series, which he has dubbed Halftecture, Springtecture, Rooftecture, Bubbletecture, Slowtecture and Gravitecture. None of these series targets a particular building type but in each he develops diverse programs ranging from spa complexes to Shinto temples and including public restrooms, office buildings and housing in between.
Since founding his firm in I988 in Osaka, Shuhei Endo, who currently teaches at Kobe University, has earned a reputation that is international in stature. Born in 1960 in Shiga, Japan, he studied at Kyoto University of Art and then set up his firm, Shuhei Endo Architect Institute. His projects have won numerous prizes, notably the “Surfaces” Prize at the 2004 Venice Biennale of architecture. In parallel to his intense activity in architectural design, Endo also teaches Kobe branch Kinki University in Kobe as well as the Design School and the Institute de Technology in Fukui.