Nov 9, 2009

a review on [small images] - junya ishigami

[small images] is perhaps the latest book by Junya Ishigami compiling most of his works to date. In the book, paragraphs and images are arranged in a continuous, ambiguous manner. Projects, be it architecture, furniture or installations, are bridged softly and smoothly throughout the whole book. So it feels like it’s about just one project. I think it’s alright to put it this way; Ishigami’s works are a series of separate, yet connected investigations toward a single quest for a concept, a kind of blurriness and ambiguity in space, structure, viewpoints and etc.

It occurs to me very intriguing for how Ishigami is able to produce architectural works of unprecedented quality by deliberately pushing limits of the common constructional dimensions: sizes of glass apertures or walls, thickness and density of columns, and so on. By redefining the scales of these commonly seen elements and details of architecture, it became apparently such an ease to alter altogether human perceptions of interior-exterior, and relationships between man, building and the surrounding. Compared to some architects’ excessive reliance on new devices, new forms, I can’t help but to feel that what’s ordinarily existing holds much more potentiality in impacting on our viewpoints toward (new) architecture.

A change in the common sense is a blow to our mind stronger than an introduction of the new and unfamiliar. From vague urban visions to bolts and nuts, he conceives sophisticated yet refreshingly simple ideas at the extreme ends and avoiding everything in-between that we’re so used to as the sole ‘reality’. His proposals revealed aspects of the environment we’ve not chosen to see, yet so naively natural and delightful that we seem to have emotionally dreamed of.

From the usually extreme transparency in his works, I’d think that Ishigami ultimately isn’t much interested in the resultant enclosures (what we normally see as ‘buildings’) than in designing the intangible relationships between human and his surroundings. It isn’t an issue whether interior or exterior, for he tries to merge the two to a degree never seen before. As long as an area is sufficiently conditioned for living into, it’s alright for it to feel the same as sitting under the sun and rain.

Despite I personally find it an addictive read; it could be a tedious effort for you have to read the whole book to understand whatever big messages it conveys and possibilities it eventually opens up to. But it’s enough fun to just flipping through the pages of gorgeous pictures. After all, they’re nice to look at and it’s easy to get from them the niche and atmosphere of Junya Ishigami’s architecture: a fresh new air.

posted by afterrabbit

Nov 7, 2009

Vanishing Stairs and a "vanishing" public space

Vanishing Stairs is an installation created by New Zealand sculptor, Neil Dawson in 1997. This suspended sculpture hovers above the public piazza at Megan Avenue, formerly known as Megan Phileo Promenade.

Dawson believes that public art should not be hidden. Hence the massive size. However, being surrounded by tall buildings at all 4 corners eliminates all possibility of the public getting a view of this sculpture.

Nevertheless, "vanishing stairs" inspires awe as the stairs appears like out of nowhere floating in the air. The use of wire gives a transparent feel and from certain angles the "stairs" seem to like have vanished into thin air.

It is most unfortunate that the public space below is quite devoid of human activity. Instead of adding water features (which were not there previously), they should have worked towards creating a space where office workers can rest or interact during lunch breaks.

I believe we need to look more into creating lively and functional public spaces. Some may dismiss piazza's as a western fad. But then how about hawker squares?

The urban jungle would be a much more livable place if there are more public spaces.

posted by ling

Nov 4, 2009


p/s: Marcel Breuer, Frank Lloyd Wright, and SANAA must be so proud!

Designer Halloween Costumes

image from:

posted by midori mizu

Nov 1, 2009

Plans to rebuild damaged CCTV building under way

BEIJING — The chief architect for the landmark new headquarters for China's powerful state broadcaster said the part of the complex that burned in a massive fire earlier this year can be repaired and does not need to be torn down.

Architect Ole Scheeren said that initial inspections show that the high-rise's steel structure largely withstood the fire and that preparations were under way to repair the China Central Television building.

"The preliminary findings are that the building can be repaired," he told The Associated Press in an interview late Wednesday. "It's still intact and safe. There will mainly be a repair effort but not a complete rebuilding."
(to find out more..)

image and passage from:

posted by midori mizu

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