Exhibitions and Events

Photo: (c)Iwan Baan

The exhibition has been cancelled due to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect our customers and employees. Thank you for your understanding.
The exhibition hosted by Toyo Ito & Associates, Architects, on the same theme will be held in ZA-KOENJI,Tokyo(2020.7.1-8.16).

About "Future of Creation"
As of September 2014, we are presenting a new series of exhibitions, "Future of Creation," each of which takes a distinctive theme and embodies a trend now in the making. We are guided in this endeavor by four creators from the forefront of Japanese art and architecture who join us as supervisors--Toshio Shimizu (artistic director), Ryohei Miyata (metal artist), Toyo Ito (architect), and Kengo Kuma (architect). Each undertakes a three-month long exhibition, for a total four exhibitions each year.

Introduction by Toyo Ito
Creating Public Architecture as a Home-for-All
■ We have designed public architecture in Japan and abroad for the past thirty years. In the early days we insisted on participating in public architecture design because we were convinced at the time that in the West, a public architecture portfolio was essential for establishing an architectural career.
However, upon participating in public architecture projects, it gradually became clear to us the many issues faced by Japanese public architecture. We realized that architecture may not have necessarily been designed according to their users' desires, but instead was often overruled by the need to control and manage. What, then, defines architectures that are desirable for its users?

■ A desirable architecture from the users' standpoint is a place where people would want to visit every day, and for that, the architecture needs to be delightful to experience, and comfortable to be within.
However, public architecture projects in this country tend to gravitate towards functionality and ease of management, rather than the users' enjoyment or comfort.
"Function" has been an incredibly significant concept for the 20th-century and later modernist architecture. It denotes the performance and efficiency of the components of a machine.
In architecture, the notion of function categorizes people's activities--as if they were parts of a machine--and assigns a customized space to each specific activity, thereby sorting people into respective spaces by what they are doing.
The idea of separating people's diverse activities into component-like elements and devising designated combinations is, in my view, the product of Western modernist ideology and its reliance on science and technology. I hardly think this method is conducive to delightful and comfortable spaces. This is because delight and comfort are bodily sensations that are not produced by spaces (rooms) segmented by function.

■ Once we step outside into natural surroundings, our actions are no longer limited by function. Nature offers diverse conditions--a place could be bright, dark, dry, damp, open, or enclosed, etc.
In nature, we can freely choose where we conduct a certain activity: we can read a book on a bench under the shade of a tree, for instance, or lying on a lawn. If we were to design a public library, we would aim to create a library that makes users feel as if they were reading in nature. Instead of making users feel confined to a specific room, we want the architecture to offer unrestricted choices of places to be, as in nature. We want to create public architecture that can be shared by parents, youngsters and the elderly, where children can run about freely at the same time.

■ Many of the public buildings and spaces we created are constantly blessed with liveliness due to daily visiting crowds, which I believe is because they were designed not to be limiting or restricting to people--that we eschewed compartmentalizing them into spaces categorized by function.
The public buildings we designed often have fewer internal walls because our intention was to create unsegmented, fluid spaces that lend themselves well to variation and change.
The outcomes are thriving spaces that make it easy for a diverse range of people--young children, stay-at-home parents, businessmen, students, and the elderly--to independently find a unique place where they can feel at home. This delightful mixture of people paints a picture of a larger and loose family.
We have created many "Homes-for-All" for the benefit of communities affected by the Earthquake Disasters in Tohoku 2011 and in Kumamoto 2016. These "Homes-for-All" are used mainly by residents of temporary housing, as a place to gather around and have discussions, to enjoy a meal together and to holdevents. Unlike conventional public facilities which are often prescribed with specific contents by local authorities, "Homes-for-All" are created basing solely on users' needs , established through dialogues among themselves. I believe public architecture of tomorrow needs to be designed from the users' point of view, just like the "Homes-for-All".

■ This exhibition focuses on four of our public architectural projects to date and looks at how these spaces are being used. We interviewed the directors and artistic directors of these institutions to find out the kind of activities and "buzz" they aimed to generate. We also conducted interviews and questionnaire surveys to learn the real opinions of users and staff members. We hope that the exhibition can reveal the vision of public architecture to come.

  • Sendai Mediatheque
  • Matsumoto Performing Arts Centre
  • ZA-KOENJI Public Theatre
  • Sendai Mediatheque
  • Matsumoto Performing Arts Centre
  • ZA-KOENJI Public Theatre
Date 16 April - 30 June, 2020
Open Hours 10:00 - 18:00
Closed Wednesdays, 25 May, 2020
Admission Free

Toyo Ito

Toyo Ito

Born in 1941, Toyo Ito graduated from the Department of Architecture, Faculty of Engineering, at the University of Tokyo in 1965, and worked for Kiyonori Kikutake Architects and Associates from 1965 to 1969. In 1971, he established Urban Robot, which in 1979 was renamed to Toyo Ito & Associates, Architects.

His major works include Silver Hut (Tokyo), Yatsushiro Municipal Museum (Kumamoto), Odate Jukai Dome (Akita), Sendai Mediatheque (Miyagi), Matsumoto Performing Arts Centre (Nagano), Tama Art University Library (Hachioji, Tokyo), ZA-KOENJI Public Theatre (Tokyo), ‘Minna no Mori’ Gifu Media Cosmos (Gifu), Museo Internacional del Barroco (Mexico), National Taichung Theater (Taiwan) and Shin-Aomori Prefectural Comprehensive Athletic Stadium (Aomori). His project for Mito Civic Center (tentative title, Ibaraki) and Ibaraki Civic Hall (Osaka) are currently underway.

He has won numerous awards, such as the Architectural Institute of Japan Prize (Grand Prize and Architectural Design Division Prize), the Golden Lion at International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, the Royal Gold Medal from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), the Asahi Prize, the Praemium Imperiale in Honor of Prince Takamatsu, the Pritzker Architecture Prize, and the UIA Gold Medal.

After the Great East Japan Earthquake, he took the initiative in creating “Home-for-All” that provides residents with comfortable spaces within post-disaster temporary housing units and sixteen “Home-for-All”s have been completed. In response to the Kumamoto earthquakes in 2016, he has been working on a project to build temporary housing with “Home-for-All” as Commissioner of Kumamoto Artpolis. A total of 100 houses have been constructed.

In 2011, he established a small private architectural school, Ito Juku, which organizes various activities that encourage participants to consider the future of cities and architecture. In Omishima, where his museum “Toyo Ito Museum of Architeture, Imabari” is, he is engaged in the development of the island with Ito Juku students and the local residents.