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Jelly Fish I

©François Lauginie

Jelly Fish I, 1990

Makoto Sei Watanabe
  • Architect (1952)

Makoto Sei Watanabe’s architecture is the result of direct interaction with the city, which for him is a continuously evolving event. He utilizes the positive energy of chaos in his complex architecture of fluid and dynamic forms, seeking to free it from the hold of gravity to highlight the “floating quality” of space. His experiments generate spectacular outcomes, from Mura-no terrace (1995) and the K-Museum (1996) to his project for high-speed train stations (2004-2005). The architect relies on the integration of diverse parameters - natural (light, wind, etc.), structural and communicational - in algorithmic programs that function as a matrix system. Any modification of an element alters the chain of relations, thereby generating a new calculation of the whole system. The Induction Cities research project, initiated in 1990, is based on the principle of heterogeneous generation to design multi-unit housing. In the Tokyo Iidabashi subway station (2000), the architect deployed a connective and seamless framework, heralding the results of recent his research on the Ribbon, a fluid and multi-tasking system whose circumvolutions create differentiated surfaces and spaces while also complying with stringent material and structural constraints (Ribbon’s Theater, Taiwan, 2009).

Graduate in 1976 of the National University of Yokohama, Makoto Sei Watanabe (1952, Yokohama, Japan) joined Arata Isozaki in 1979 before founding his own firm in 1984. Watanabe has taught at the Tokyo Denki University, Housei University, the University of Yokohama and Tamkang University in Taipei. Makoto Sei Watanabe’s work was shown at ArchiLab in 1999 and 2006. He has been awarded numerous prizes, among which the Public Architecture Award of Japan in 2008.