Akihisa Hirata architecture office

Architect (1971)

After engineering studies at Kyoto University (1994-1997), and eight years at Toyo Ito & Associates, Akihisa Hirata founded his own studio in Tokyo in 2005. From the very start of his collaboration with Toyo Ito already, Hirata has sought to reduce the gap between architecture and nature. He supervised the building of the Sendai Mediatheque, designed to resemble a forest (2001), and drew the tree-like structuring motif of the Tod’s Omotesando shop in Tokyo (2004). For Hirata, a building must “embed itself” in the biosphere. From his earliest buildings (e.g., a showroom for agricultural machines, Masuya, 2007) to his latest projects (e.g., Alp, 2010; Tree-ness House, 2009; Bloomberg Pavilion, 2011; Foam Form, 2011), the architect has made use of foldings, pleatings and entanglements, interweaving architecture and nature, form and function, the public and private spheres. Convinced that mathematics can help pierce the laws of nature, he has created numerous projects based on genetic algorithms to bring to light the growth principles of forms; he applies the algorithms to various scales, from architecture to design. The Csh chair (2008) and projects such as Architecture Farm or Tree-ness House follow the same principle of organic proliferation. The complex and ambiguous spaces that ensue, all of which are inspired by biological principles, encourage a more dynamic experience of space, one that is, according to Hirata, livelier and more instinctual. Several of his projects have won awards. In 2012 he notably won the Golden Lion at the Venice Architecture Biennale for his contribution to the Japanese Pavilion (Architecture, Possible Here?) in association with Naoya Hatakeyama, Kumiko Inui and Sou Fujimoto, and under the supervision of Toyo Ito. His first solo exhibition, entitled Akihisa Hirata: Tangling, was held in 2012 at the Architecture Foundation in London; it presented the architect’s projects in an interwoven manner, in an immersive, loop-shaped installation on a 1:1 scale.

Nadine Labedade

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