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Kanagawa Institute of Technology - KAIT Workshop

©François Lauginie

Kanagawa Institute of Technology - KAIT Workshop, 2005-2011

Junya Ishigami
  • Architect (1974)

After four years with SANAA, Japanese architect Junya Ishigami (b. 1974) founded junya.ishigami+associates in 2004. Since then he has been redefining the boundaries of architecture through both built and theoretical projects, installations, drawings and design objects. More than just architecture itself, Ishigami designs environments in which architecture is ubiquitous and blends with nature in a reciprocal movement that results in a lack of differentiation. The greenhouses of Extreme Nature (Venice Biennale, 2008), erected among the plants of the garden of the Japanese pavilion, play on the permeability of indoor and outdoor spaces, which thereby acquire an equivalent and ambiguous status. Ishigami conjures this necessarily artificial nature as an image, a metaphor or process to redefine architecture and its everyday uses. Mountains, horizons, lakes and cityscapes become materials, like the raindrops evoked by the columns of Architecture as Air (winner of the Golden Lion award at the 2010 Venice Biennale). Among the 58 hybrid typologies presented in the travelling exhibition How Small? How Vast? How Architecture Grows (2010-2013), both Windy House and House of Rain use frames as catalysts of climate phenomena, in order to ensure optimal thermic conditions or, according to Ishigami, for the simple pleasure of listening to the rain. This work questions the notion of scale and the possibilities offered by going beyond traditional hierarchies. The proportions of the frame, of the structure or of the object are transformed through the ongoing confrontation with the environment: a table, for instance, can be as supple as a sheet of paper (the Neo table designed for a restaurant, 2004) and a building can grow to the size of a landscape. In the contemporary Japanese tradition, this poetic research rests on advanced structural experimentation, which pushes the building towards the refinement of Ishigami’s drawings, where the architecture consists of a few strokes. This is notably the case of Space for Your Future (2007) and KAIT Workshop (2011), winner of a prize from the Architectural Institute of Japan. In 2011, Ishigami won the competition for the rehabilitation of the Moscow Polytechnical Museum, in partnership with Arup.

Emmanuelle Chiappone-Piriou