Inside 'A Japanese Constellation'

John Hill
10. March 2016
All photographs by John Hill/World-Architects (Click any photo for a slideshow of the exhibition – recommended.)

On Sunday the exhibition A Japanese Constellation: Toyo Ito, SANAA, and Beyond at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City opens to the public. World-Architects got an early look and presents photos of just a few of the numerous models that make up the show.

Suspended scrims demarcate the different areas for Ito, SANAA, and the "beyond" architects: Sou Fujimoto, Junyo Ishigami, and Akihisa Hirata. Photos are projected onto these surfaces.
With the resulting gauziness of the images projected on the scrims, the models attract the most attention. (Sou Fujimoto, House NA, Tokyo, 2007-2011)
Toyo Ito is the main protagonist of the exhibition, since curator Pedro Gadanho sees the work of SANAA and the other architects in the show as heavily indebted to his approach to architecture. (Toyo Ito, Tama Art University Library, Hachioji Campus, Tokyo, 2004-2007)
Therefore Ito is given much more space than the other architects to showcase the diverse work he has created this century. (Toyo Ito, Meiso no Mori Municipal Funeral Hall, Kakamigahara, Gifu, Japan, 2004-2006)
The theater nearing completion in Taiwan is arguably Ito's magnum opus, a large building where walls, floors, and structure combine into one seamless surface. (Toyo Ito, National Taichung Theater, Taichung, Taiwan, 2005-)
Like Ito, SANAA, the practice of Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, are recipients of the Pritzker Architecture Prize. The duo carries on three practices (together and individually apart), each one highlighted in the exhibition. (SANAA, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Ishikawa, Japan, 1999-2004)
Not surprisingly, there is more room given to SANAA projects than the Sejima and Nishizawa projects. The cultural projects they create together are what the duo are known form. (SANAA, Grace Farms, New Canaan, Connecticut, 2012-2015)
Some of the models are fairly large, allowing visitors to peer inside them and get a sense of the spaces created by the super-minimal architecture that this group of architects is known for. (SANAA, Zollverein School of Management and Design, Essen, Germany, 2003-2006)
Sou Fujimoto is arguably the most well known of the "beyond" architects. He has designed and realized a number of buildings in Japan and overseas, and he has a knack for creatively approaching different programs. (Sou Fujimoto, Masushino Art University Museum and Library, Tokyo, 2007-2010)
In addition to Ito and SANAA, Sou Fujimoto has been called upon to realize a Serpentine Pavilion in London, one of architecture's most important annual installations. (Sou Fujimoto, Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, London, 2013)
The delicacy of some of SANAA's and Fujimoto's architecture finds suitable extension in the work of Junya Ishigami; his one-story workshop is supported by an irregular grid of slender, tightly spaced columns rather than larges ones on a regular grid. (Junya Ishigami, Kanagawa Institute of Technology Workshop, Atsugi, Kanagawa, Japan, 2005-2008)
Akihisa Hirata is the least known architect of the six architects assembled, but that is sure to change given his inclusion in "A Japanese Consteallation." (Akihisa Hirata, Tree-ness House, Tokyo, 2009-)

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