akihisa hirata's 'discovering new' exhibition at TOTO GALLERY·MA in tokyo

akihisa hirata's 'discovering new' exhibition at TOTO GALLERY·MA in tokyo

from now until july 15, 2018, TOTO GALLERY·MA presents ‘discovering new’, a solo exhibition documenting the work of japanese architect akihisa hirata. over his career so far, hirata, who considers architecture to be ‘a part of our generative vital activities’, has explored how to create essential architecture by harnessing the laws of nature that govern the organic activities of plants, animals, and meteorological phenomena. as such, hirata believes that buildings are more than independent entities, and should form part of the ‘greater living world’.

akihisa hirata exhibition
image © nacása & partners inc.



in 2017, akihisa hirata brought his ideas to fruition in the form two landmark buildings: ‘the art museum & library, ota’; and the ‘tree-ness house’. the latter is composed of complexly stacked boxes, which intertwine with pleated openings and vegetation to form a multilayered urban habitat. the exhibition offers visitors the opportunity to gain an understanding of hirata’s architectural philosophy through an experiential presentation that features his past and ongoing work.

akihisa hirata exhibition
image © nacása & partners inc.



‘our work begins from a broad rethinking of architecture and of the human workings behind it as vital activities,’ explains akihisa hirata. ‘doing this enables even a public building to become something of an ‘ecosystem” in which the diverse people can be seen as distinct ‘species’. to do this we must find conceptual leads, or new lines, to tie together the workings of living things with architecture. in this exhibition, we are presenting these lines of thought and their intertwinings in an immersive, natural-historical way through a multidimensional array of various objects, including models.’


‘akihisa hirata: discovering new’ remains on view at TOTO GALLERY·MA in tokyo until until july 15, 2018. read more about the elements within the exhibition, in the words of the architect, below.

akihisa hirata exhibition
‘thought cloud’
image © nacása & partners inc.



this is a thought cloud for discovering the ‘new’. its overall composition corresponds to that of the book ‘discovering new’. it has three axes that correspond to the book’s sections of ‘new form’, ‘new nature’, and ‘new commitment’, and around each axis there are plans that correspond to four different topics. amid the tangling elements are models, positioned appropriately for each spot. the cloud is at once an exhibit that presents the individual projects, an exhibit that shows the relationships and conceptual intertwinings between the projects, and, furthermore, an open network into which viewers can weave in their own thoughts.

akihisa hirata exhibition
image © nacása & partners inc.

akihisa hirata exhibition
image © nacása & partners inc.

akihisa hirata exhibition
‘timber foam+’
image © nacása & partners inc.



in contrast to the ‘thought cloud’ on the lower floor, the exhibit on the upper floor deals with things that occur around buildings, such as the actual spaces of reality and the technologies for realizing buildings. various images cluster around the 3D-CNC-machined ‘timber foam+’ to produce what can be described as a ‘sea of reality’.

akihisa hirata exhibition
image © nacása & partners inc.

akihisa hirata exhibition
taipei roofs
image © akihisa hirata architecture office

akihisa hirata exhibition
taipei complex
image © yukikazu ito

akihisa hirata exhibition
tree-ness house | see designboom’s previous coverage of the project here
image © vincent hecht

akihisa hirata exhibition
art museum & library, ota
image © daici ano

akihisa hirata exhibitionakihisa hirata speaking at the exhibition’s opening
image © designboom



the exhibition under construction
video courtesy of TOTO GALLERY·MA



exhibition information
title: akihisa hirata: discovering new
dates: thursday, may 24 – sunday, july 15, 2018 (closed mondays)
hours: 11:00 – 18:00
admission: free


organized by: TOTO GALLERY·MA
planned by: TOTO GALLERY·MA planning and management committee
special advisor: tadao ando
members: kazuyo sejima, manabu chiba, yoshiharu tsukamoto, erwin viray
supported by: tokyo society of architects and building engineers; tokyo association of architectural firms; the japan institute of architects kanto-koshinetsu chapter; architectural institute of japan kanto chapter

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