interview with architect momoyo kaijima of atelier bow-wow
 
interview with architect momoyo kaijima of atelier bow-wow
oct 14, 2015

interview with architect momoyo kaijima of atelier bow-wow


interview with architect momoyo kaijima of atelier bow-wow

 

 

 

atelier bow-wow is a tokyo-based architecture office, founded in 1992 by momoyo kaijima and yoshiharu tsukamoto. over the past 23 years the firm has established itself not only as one of japan’s leading firms, but also as an internationally recognized practice. to understand more about the studio’s work, designboom spoke with its co-founder momoyo kaijima.

 

born in 1969, kaijima completed her post graduate studies at the tokyo institute of technology before becoming an assistant professor of the university of tsukuba in 2000. in 2003 she was a visiting faculty of harvard GSD, and has since been a guest professor at ETH zürich, the royal danish academy of fine arts and rice university. in 2012, momoyo kaijima and her partner yoshiharu tsukamoto were awarded an international fellowship by RIBA, the royal institute of british architects. read our interview with kaijima below.

atelier bow-wow interview momoyo kaijima designboom
canal swimmer’s club, bruges, belgium
image © haupt & binder

 

 

 

designboom: what originally made you want to study architecture and become an architect?

 

momoyo kaijima: since I was a child, I was interested in houses and I wanted to be an architect. I wasn’t influenced by anything in particular, but when I was a child I had many opportunities to visit different houses and I think this experience was very useful.

atelier bow-wow interview momoyo kaijima designboom
beach house, chiba, japan
image © atelier bow-wow
see more of the project on designboom here

 

 

 

DB: who has been the biggest influence on your work to date, and what themes are currently feeding into your designs?

 

MK: my teacher, friends and everyone I know — although now my biggest influence is tsukamoto, (her partner at atelier bow-wow). currently, I am interested in fishery, agriculture and forestry. I feel that professions that interact with nature are both modest and rich.

atelier bow-wow interview momoyo kaijima designboom
model home made from paper, with michael lin + andrew barrie
image © auckland triennale
see more of the project on designboom here

 

 

 

DB: overall, what would you say is your strongest asset, and how have you developed that skill over time?

 

MK: an important skill is working as part of a team with collaborative discussion. in addition, visiting many places and talking about them in order to cultivate a better understanding is very interesting for architects and creative people.

atelier bow-wow interview momoyo kaijima designboom
BMW guggenheim lab, new york, USA
image © solomon r. guggenheim foundation, paul warcol
see more of this project on designboom here

 

 

 

DB: your ‘graphic anatomy’ book explores architectural drawing, how important is this skill for architects?

 

MK: the illustrations in the book are detail drawings, which are made by our design process with added perspective. the drawings express the story of the design process. I really wanted to let architecture students know the fun of drawing.

atelier bow-wow interview momoyo kaijima designboom
tower machiya, tokyo, japan
image © atelier bow-wow
see more of this project on designboom here

 

 

 

DB: what is the best advice you have received, and what is your personal motto?

 

MK: my friend gave me the advice: ‘when you are worried about something, you are growing’. my personal motto is a japanese proverb that translates as ‘passion without knowledge is a runaway horse’. also, I don’t want to be rich, but I like the straw millionaire story, (a japanese buddhist folk tale about a poor man who becomes wealthy through a series of successive trades, starting with a single piece of straw).

atelier bow-wow interview momoyo kaijima designboom
split machiya, tokyo, japan
image © manuel oka
see more of the project on designboom here

atelier bow-wow interview momoyo kaijima designboom
izu book cafe, shizuoka, japan
image © shinkenchiku sha
see more of the project on designboom here

atelier bow-wow interview momoyo kaijima designboom
shotgun installation at the rice gallery, houston, USA
image © nash baker
see more of the project on designboom here

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