exhibition plan ‘architecture. possible here? home-for-all’ 2012 image courtesy of the exhibitors

in november, designboom attended the university of tokyo’s symposium where tokyo-based architect and commissioner toyo ito unveiled the initial concept behind the exhibition for the upcoming 13th international architecture biennale, ‘architecture in the wake of disaster‘. having matured since then, the japanese pavilion is titled ‘architecture. possible here? home-for-all’ and is supported by the japan foundation. the exhibition will represent the ongoing project coordinated by him and a group of japanese architects kumiko inui, sou fujimoto and akisa hirata to rebuild the village of rikuzentakata following the country’s massive earthquake in march 2011. photographer naoya hatakeyama originates from the afflicted area and has supplied the visual manifestations for the displays.

1. what will be the theme of the japan pavilion at this year’s venice architecture biennale?

venice biennale 2012: japan pavilion preview exhibition plan ‘architecture. possible here? home-for-all’ 2012 image courtesy of the exhibitors

one year following the great east japan earthquake, the devastated region of the country is becoming reborn within a landscape of blooming cherry trees and singing birds. now that the rubble has been cleared away, the sole reminder of the tragedy are the remaining foundations of the lost towns. following an inherent human instinct and refusal to surrender, people have begun to come together and slowly regenerate their communities, encouraging life to continue. differing from the governmental recovery plans which typically ignore relationships between people and their immediate surrounding, the bottom-up process prioritizes the restoration of memories contained within each area, maintaining the existing layer without wiping the slate clean and starting over.

the home-for-all project originated as an attempt to restore places for people to gather, meet, talk, eat and drink. individual structures which arose as a product of the emergency situation following the tsunami have created privacy but have ultimately led to an isolated existence. funds are being collected from companies and organizations along with donations from manufacturers to construct the social pavilions.

venice biennale 2012: japan pavilion preview exhibition plan ‘home-for-all’ 2012 image courtesy of the exhibitors

2. who are the architects and artists involved and why have they been chosen to represent the pavilion’s theme?

‘the architects are kumiko inui, sosuke fujimoto, and akihisa hirata: chosen because they are three of japan’s most dynamic up-and-coming architects. photographer naoya hatakeyama was chosen not only for his superlative command of his medium, but because he comes from the area devastated by the disaster.’

venice biennale 2012: japan pavilion preview the artists/architects meeting at the disaster site 2011 image courtesy of the exhibitors

3. how will the content and physical realization of the pavilion support the overarching theme selected by david chipperfield, ‘common ground’?

‘the tohoku earthquake and tsunami has led us to believe that contemporary architecture with its modernist foundations needs to change, and the questions of where the problems lie in contemporary architecture, and how it ought to be changed, are major themes for the japanese pavilion this time. we think this also resonates with the overall concept of the exhibition.’

venice biennale 2012: japan pavilion preview cutting down japanese cedars for lumber in rikuzentakata 2012 image courtesy of the exhibitors

venice biennale 2012: japan pavilion preview imaizumi area of kesencho, rikuzentakata photo taken by naoya hatakeyama on 4 april 2011

organizer: the japan foundation venue: the japan pavilion at the giardini (designed by takamasa yoshizaka, completed in 1956) address: padiglione giapponese, giardini della biennale, castello 1260, 30122 venezia exhibition period: 29 august to 25 november 2012 opening times: 10 am–6 pm closed on mondays (except 3 september and 19 november 2012) commissioner: toyo ito exhibitors: kumiko inui, sou fujimoto, akihisa hirata (architects), naoya hatakeyama (photographer) with special support from ishibashi foundation in cooperation with jun sato structural engineers co., ltd.; daiko electric co., ltd.; eastwest inc.; dnp fotolusio co., ltd.

the 13th international architecture biennale is curated by london-based architect david chipperfield. the theme of the event is entitled ‘common ground’ and will run from 29th of august through 25th november 2012, in venice, italy.