Toyo Ito Archive Heads to CCA
7. December 2023
Aerial view of Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal (Photo: Lëa-Kim Châteauneuf/Wikimedia Commons/CCBYSA)
Japanese architect Toyo Ito is donating a portion of his archive, documenting projects spanning the years 1971 and 1995, to the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) in Montreal.
In the long career of Toyo Ito, 1971 marks his first completed building, the Aluminum House in Fujisawa, Kanagawa, a two-story wood-frame house covered, appropriately, in aluminum sheets. That project is, relative to other Ito projects, largely forgotten, but if we jump ahead to 1995, that is the year Ito's studio began work on the Sendai Mediatheque, which was completed in 2000 and is arguably his best building. In between are dozens and dozens of projects, some of them notable, such as White U, Silver Hut, Tower of Winds, the Yatsushiro Municipal Museum, and the Shimosuwa Municipal Museum.
“The CCA is an architectural museum and research center I have the utmost trust in. Upon this donation, I received requests from many Japanese architects and researchers, asking if it is possible to keep those archives in Japan. However, I have the confidence that CCA offers unparalleled accessibility for future researchers from around the world to study my works.”
In the CCA press release where the above statement from Ito is found, the museum points out a few recent discussions, publications, and videos that relate to Japanese architecture. Among them are the “Meanwhile in Japan” conversations that were part of the CCA c/o Tokyo program that took place between 2018 and 2020. As part of the museum's CCA Singles book series, Toyo Ito with Koji Ichikawa and others – Meanwhile in Japan is being released this month.
Finally, as part of CCA's “Find and Tell” series of short videos, which we featured last year and which show architects, curators, and critics making new discoveries and “readings” as they explore the CCA archive, the CCA has released a series of videos (embedded below and on the CCA website) with architectural historian Koji Ichikawa, architecture critic Makoto Ueda, and architects Maki Onishi and Yuki Hyakuda making findings in the Ito archive before it heads to Montreal.
Koji Ichikawa on the drawings of White U (early 1970s), a house Toyo Ito designed for his sister and her children
Makoto Ueda on the drawings and collages of the Aluminium House (URBOT-001), Ito’s first design (1971) published in Toshi Jutaku, and the Useless Capsule House (URBOT-002)
Maki Onishi and Yuki Hyakuda (o+h) on the drawings of House at Koganei (1979)
Other contemporary practices in the CCA's extensive archival holdings, which the museum has been actively obtaining since the late 1990s, including Peter Eisenman, John Hejduk, Aldo Rossi, James Stirling and Michael Wilford, Álvaro Siza, Ábalos&Herreros, and Foreign Office Architects. The CCA's announcement of the Toyo Ito archive also mentions that the archives of Bernard Tschumi, Agrest & Gandelsonas, and Studio Works will be part of the museum's holdings soon.