In the exhibited Naiju Community Center the viewer experiences the fearless spirit of artist-innovator Shoei Yoh in his rebellion against modern conventions. The structures feature elements of organic movement and dialogue with the natural world through the utilization of the architect’s underlying principles of Fluidity and Elasticity. These principles are ancient and inherent to Japanese culture and therefore, they are often overlooked. Shoei Yoh, in his enthusiasm for the search of forms that adhere to his vision of Fluidity and Elasticity makes what is unnoticed by the majority of Japanese architects visible. Even if it took long to consciously acknowledge them, Shoei Yoh nevertheless embraced them in his every creative act.
This principles of Fluidity and Elasticity are reflected through the form of the roof over a flexible bamboo structure. The roof appears to imitate steep terrestrial slopes of great land masses in rhythmic movement. The high central point of the structure then opens a way for natural light to flow into the interior space. This initial project becomes the “signature” of the architect as it undermines the fundamental methodology of architecture that regards buildings as mere geometrical containers with constructive meaning, structure, and function.
Another aspect in Shoei Yoh’s design that comprises an aspect of his unique style is his manner of manipulating the sense of time that passes according to the experience of each visitor. Using strategies such as bending paths, materials and natural light, Yoh carefully arranges certain design elements to produce a certain psychological dimension as visitors pass through his building spaces.
Shoei Yoh’s courage with regard to design was expressed best not in the creation of large-scale buildings, but in cultural and educational centers, medical clinics, museums and small coffee shops. In them were crystallized those qualities distinctive to Yoh’s work. However, he was always quite eager to expand his personal world and continued in his own way to seek new ideas.
World-renowned architect Kengo Kuma designed the centerpiece of the expansion of Cultural Village of the Portland Japanese Garden . Kuma believes the study of place is essential to integrating a project with its surroundings. The Cultural Village provides a place where visitors can immerse themselves in traditional Japanese arts through seasonal activities, performances, and demonstrations in the Tateuchi Courtyard. It offers new and exciting opportunities to discover the richness and wisdom of Japanese culture. Cultural Crossing is the vision of the Garden’s leaders, past and present.
Tadao Ando, a world class architect, reduces architecture to its most basic principles, yet through masterful design, he creates the most emotionally and intellectually moving spaces in contemporary architecture. Known for his ascetic palette of concrete and nature, Ando’s projects are noted for being designed in a way that makes a visitor profoundly aware of his surroundings, providing a place for reflection and meditation in a preoccupied world. The Art of Architecture in Ando’s work is unique and world renown because it demonstrates an essence of architecture that acts not as a shelter from the world but rather a temple to it. In our exhibition, we represent the very first sketches of master Ando’s vision, which are marked by intuitive and artistic spontaneity before their realization.
To experience Alvaro Siza’s architecture is to immerse oneself within a series of volumes and voids. Few other architects express their buildings as being so thoroughly architectural in an unadulterated form. Siza’s designs express themselves with a strength of presence that does not try to disappear into the landscape but instead stands out forthrightly as a monument of sculpted space.
The spatial arrangements created within Siza’s structures are unique yet respond to the same necessary functions of any other building. For instance, a wide semi-circular void penetrates through the center of one building which serves to bring an abundance of natural light into a hall. In other projects, long, unbroken passages lining a courtyard give the feeling of traveling through a tunnel in an immense block, but the courtyard edge is entirely open as though one traveled around a void extending suddenly into the sky. This action both serves to protect the visitor from the heat of the sun in a cool space as well as to allow contact between built and natural space.
Siza’s architecture does not stand alone as an island, however, but absorbs qualities from its surroundings to draw itself into a cultural mesh. Siza will often incorporate local materials and regional architectural elements designed for climatic adaptation to add to the functional aspect of his buildings, and the buildings are often planned to preserve existing natural elements like trees or rock formations.
With these combined actions, Siza has built edifices that stand undeniably as the space that man has made upon the earth.