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Hiromi Fujii
  • Architect (1933)

Acknowledged by Peter Eisenman as a precursor of the Deconstructivist movement, the Japanese architect Hiromi Fujii’s experimental research was particularly influenced by European structuralism. In the late 1960s, at the same time as Superstudio was operating in Italy, he undertook a critique of Modernist principles through his research on the idea of neutrality in architecture, notably by working with the grid. In keeping with the Minimalist trends of the 1960s-70s, Hiromi Fujii’s conceptualism attempted to take architecture to its “zero degree,” i.e., to a primary state free of any historical signification. From 1968 to 2000, his entire oeuvre was organized into typologies designed to enable the development of possible variations. Starting with Project Q (1968), and running all the way through to the Mizoe series of the 1990s, Fujii designed numerous projects which he developed as complex metamorphoses based on the dimension and functions of the program. In particular, his research on the structuralist geometrization of architectural space was expressed in the Todoroki House (1974), nested cubes where the syntactic elements of the architecture are constantly redeveloped to create new morphologies. His research was then published by Peter Eisenman in Oppositions magazine. The office building for the Marutake Company in Saitama (1976), the “pharmacy-house” in Chofu (1980), the offices for the Ushimado International Festival of Art (1985) and the gymnasium of Shibaura University in Tokyo (1985) are among his most marked achievements.

A graduate of Waseda University in Japan in 1958 and a student of the architect Motoo Take, Hiromi Fujii (b. 1935) settled in Milan in 1964 where he collaborated with the Italian architect Angelo Mangiarotti and observed with interest the emergence of radical currents in architecture. He then traveled around Europe, settling in London in 1966, where he worked with Alison and Peter Smithson. Upon returning to Tokyo in 1968, he founded his own firm, Hiromi Fujii, Architect and Associates, where he conducted his experiments with emblematic projects such as E-2 (1968-1970), Nave of Signs (1989) and Mizoe Hall (1992). The publication of his theoretical writings sparked a great deal of interest in the field of international criticism and lead to the publication of an important monograph by the internationally renowned critique Kenneth Frampton (Rizzioli, 1987).