According to Sou Fujimoto, architecture should be thought of less as a strict functional space and more as a flexible container; “tolerant,” in his words, and made up of “opportunities, clues and potentialities.” In fact, the architect only endows spaces with a relative signification. It is up to the occupants of a place to give it the function they deem most appropriate. For Fujimoto, architecture is not a finished thing. On the contrary, it has a “potential of imperfectability.” His innovative work does not result from research on complex forms. Starting with simple geometric forms, Sou Fujimoto designs architecture in which the key feature is the combinations of the parts. “Architecture is not a single space. It is an “in-between” state linking one thing to another,” he explains. The spaces he creates (Center for Mentally Disturbed Children, 2003; houses; library; museum; landscapes) are based on spatial and functional fluctuation: each project comprises a double movement involving the shattering of the parts and their fusion. This results in floating and ambiguous constructions, due not only to the lightness of their structure, but even more so to the merging of the elements on a territory designed as a vibratory field of potential relations. Thus, the pleasure architecture affords the occupant is in fact the result of experiences the architect has not anticipated. The Future Primitive House, a concept that imagines the inhabitant before the walls, ceiling or furnishings, goes back to Fujimoto’s earliest idea of the house, a space for relationships and improvisation.
Sou Fujimoto (1971) founded his firm, Sou Fujimoto Architects, in Tokyo in 2000, six years after graduating with a degree from the University of Tokyo. Working independently, he first implemented his ideas in small dwellings. Much larger projects followed (public buildings, landscapes, etc.), for which he won several awards. His most acclaimed buildings include the Dormitory for the Mentally Disabled (2003), the Final Wooden House (2008), the N House (2006-2008) and the House Before House (2007-2008). He also designed a complex of houses, the 1000 m² House, in Ordos, Inner Mongolia (2008-2009) and the Library and Museum of the Musahiro Art University. In 2005, Sou Fujimoto won the JIA Prize, which acknowledges the best architect of the year in Japan, and in 2006 he received the Gold Medal from the Tokyo Society of Architects and Building Engineers.