japan celebrates its pavilion's post-war modernist essence at venice architecture biennale

japan celebrates its pavilion's post-war modernist essence at venice architecture biennale

‘architecture, a place to be loved’ at the 2023 japan pavilion

 

Venice Architecture Biennale 2023: Commissioned by the Japan Foundation, the latest intervention at the Japan pavilion takes a simple yet deeply poetic turn. With a team comprised of architect Maki Onishi, Yuki Hyakuda, co-directors of the architecture office o+h, as well as designer Yuma Harada and editor Tomomi Tada to curate the exhibiton, this year’s program will shine a spotlight on the building itself, the representative work of architect Takamasa Yoshizaka, in an exhibition titled ‘Architecture, a place to be loved’. designboom visited the Pavilion during its opening reception on Thursday, May 18th, at the Giardini della Biennale, to discover how its pioneering, post-war modernist essence is being celebrated after all these years. 

japan celebrates its pavilion's post-war modernist essence at venice architecture biennale
image © Yuma Harada / full header © designboom

 

 

a pioneering 1950s design by architect Takamasa Yoshizaka

 

Takamasa Yoshizaka, who studied under Wajiro Kon and modern architecture pioneer Le Corbusier, was active from the post-war reconstruction period until 1980. The Japan Pavilion, Yoshizaka’s masterpiece, was completed in 1956 and has served as a base for introducing the country’s art and architecture to the rest of the world for over half a century. In this exhibition, team members with expertise in diverse fields that include not only architecture but also textiles, ceramics, design, editing, metalwork, and animation will consider the Post-war modernist architecture of the Japan Pavilion itself, designed by Yoshizaka, as the focus of various exhibits based on ‘Architecture, a place to be loved,’ a theme that Onishi and Hyakuda have pursued for many years.

japan celebrates its pavilion's post-war modernist essence at venice architecture biennale
image © Yuma Harada

 

 

Upon entering the Japan Pavilion at the 2023 Venice Biennale, visitors notice a series of eye-catching features: Akane Moriyama‘s tent roof design attached to the building façade; Futoshi Mizuno‘s mobiles suspended in openings; the piloti space serving as a bar-like resting area where people can intersect (designed and produced by dot architects, Ryohei Yoshiyuki to Job, Atelier Tuareg, and Dept.); and lastly, the animated works projected onto the structural wall, essential to any discussion about the characteristics of the Pavilion. In addition to these interventions, a series of models, fixtures, re-edited books, and other objects on display inside, made in response to the concept and forms of the building, can be enjoyed. 

 

Through these designs and exhibits, a diverse range of creators has taken a thoughtful look at the Pavilion to create a space where visitors can consider the meaning of ‘Architecture, a place to be loved.’ In addition, talks, workshops, and various other events will be held throughout the exhibition period to ensure that the Japan Pavilion continues to be nurtured as a living place.

japan celebrates its pavilion's post-war modernist essence at venice architecture biennale
image © Yuma Harada

 

 

curator’s statement: architecture as a living being 

 

Reflecting on this year’s theme, curator Maki Onishi writes: A place to be loved is made possible when architecture includes its engraved memories and stories, when it embodies the scenery behind it and the activities that took place in and around it. That enables the architecture to take on a broader meaning. For that reason, we start by thinking of the architecture as a ‘living creature’.

 

‘To quote Takamasa Yoshizaka, ‘Creating something involves giving it life.’ Regarding architecture as a life-form with an individual existence enables us to cherish and nurture it lovingly, embracing its defects and inadequacies. This goes beyond the appraisal of a building’s functionality and performance. Accepting the individuality of architecture with an easygoing stance leads us to a tolerant and broad-minded world in which we can recognize and accept the differences between us, encompassing animals and plants as well as other humans.’

japan celebrates its pavilion's post-war modernist essence at venice architecture biennale
image © designboom

 

 

‘It is interesting to wonder how our gaze—the way that we look at this place—would change if the Japan Pavilion were a living creature. Inside are a variety of suggestions and hints for ways of responding to the pavilion. We invite visitors to engage with them and think about what sort of architecture is a place to be loved. It is an opportunity to re-establish the relationship we have with architecture,’ Onishi concludes. 

 

japanese-pavilion-biennale-designboom-full-2

image © designboom

japan celebrates its pavilion's post-war modernist essence at venice architecture biennale
image © Yuma Harada

japan celebrates its pavilion's post-war modernist essence at venice architecture biennale
image © Yuma Harada

japanese-pavilion-biennale-designboom-full-5

image © designboom

japan celebrates its pavilion's post-war modernist essence at venice architecture biennale
image © Yuma Harada

japan celebrates its pavilion's post-war modernist essence at venice architecture biennale
image © Yuma Harada

japanese-pavilion-biennale-designboom-full

image © Yuma Harada

 

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project info: 

 

name: Architecture, a place to be loved―when architecture is seen as a living creature

location: Japan Pavilion, Giardini della Biennale, Castello 1260, 30122 Venezia

program: 18th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia | @labiennale 

commissioned by: The Japan Foundation 

curatorial team: Maki Onishi (Curator), Yuki Hyakuda (Deputy Curator), Tomomi Tada, Yuma Harada
exhibitors: dot architects (Toshikatsu Ienari, Wataru Doi, Ai Ikeda, Keiko Miyachi), Akane Moriyama, Futoshi Mizuno

exhibition design: o+h (Shiho Eika, Makoto Furusawa, Kotaro Igo, Satoshi Maemoto)
editors: MUESUM (Dai Nagae, Chiaki Hanyu)
designers: UMA/design farm (Megumi Takahashi, Yuka Tsuda) | @umadesignfarm
collaborators: André Raimundo, Asami Hashimoto, Atelier Tuareg (Yuji Okazaki), Dept. (Makoto Nakamura), Good Job! Center KASHIBA, Julia Li, KASAHARA HOSOHABA ORIMONO (Naoki Kasahara, Hideki Iyoda), Lighter but Heavier (Hiroshi Katayama), MIZUNO SEITOEN CO., LTD. (Yoshioki Mizuno), MIZUNO SEITOEN LAB. (Kazuki Imai), moogabooga (Makoto Takano, Ayako Oda), OWASHI TAPE (Yoshiyasu Owashi), Ryohei Yoshiyuki to Job (Ryohei Yoshiyuki), Shiho Shibagaki, SINKO INDUSTRY CO., LTD (Masanobu Ito, Atsushi Yokoyama, Yasuhiro Matsuda, Takashi Kato, Nguyen Thi Kim Tu, Nguyen Thi Yen Nhi), SUPER-FACTORY + HIGURE 17-15 cas (Makoto Sano, Toshihiko Arimoto, Shinji Tanaka, Taihei Kimura), Taiyo Kogyo Corporation (Norihiko Ikeda, Tatsushi Heguri), Tanpopo-No-Ye, Yoshitaro Inami, Yoshiyuki Hiraiwa, Yo Katsura, Yokohama Graduate School of Architecture (Yoshinori Nagara, Hiromu Takebe, Kabuto Terui, Nozomi Ueda, Shu Matsubara, Sota Endo, Yuka Kanda), Yosuke Taki, Yurika Kono
coordinators: Tomoaki Shimane, Tatsuya Suzuki, Yuki Kozu, Yui Akagi, Yurina Tsurui Oue, Maria Cristina Gasperini local coordinator: Harumi Muto
special thanks to: Masakuni Yoshizaka, Yuko Saito

archival sources: Arukitekuto, Takamasa Yoshizaka + Atelier U, National Archives of Modern Architecture, Japan, SHOKOKUSHA Publishing Co., Ltd., Keiso Shobo Publishing Co., Ltd., Kenchiku Shiryo Kenkyusha Co., Ltd., Waseda Architecture Archives

with special support of: Ishibashi Foundation

with extended support of: MOTHERHOUSE CO., LTD., Sankyo Tateyama, Inc., Toyo Ito & Associates, ArchitectsKarimoku, NAGOYA MOSAIC-TILE CO.,LTD., S&R Evermay – Sachiko Kuno Philanthropic Endowment, Shelter Inc., KAJIMA CORPORATION, OHNISHI NETSUGAKU Co., Ltd., TAJIMA ROOFING INC.TAKENAKA CORPORATION,  Amame Associate Japan, Inc., DAIKO ELECTRIC CO., LTD., Phoenixi Co., Ltd., Taihei Building Service Corporation Ishikawa Construction Industry Co., Ltd., VOCE, Yokohama National University, Yokohama Graduate School of Architecture
in collaboration with: Taiyo Kogyo Corporation

 

 

Explore designboom’s ongoing coverage of the 2023 Venice Architecture Biennale: The Laboratory of the Future here, and follow our dedicated channel on Instagram here.

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