imomus (imomus) wrote,

Notes on Fujimori

Can an architecture exhibition be mood-changing, pulse-racingly exciting, mind-blowing, future-changing? This one was. Count me a believer. Terunobu Fujimori, the most interesting architect now working.

Here are my exhibition notes.

Earth, stone, wood, bark, charcoal, plaster and bamboo.

Chestnut, paulownia, water oak, mulberry, maple, cedar, Japanese cypress, red pine, Douglas fir, Japanese yew, fir.

Roof gardens. Leeks peek through the tiles, flowers through the facade.

"A teahouse is a small space designed for drinking tea, reading, or meditating alone, or for inviting a few close friends to drink tea and talk."

"The tea ceremony and tea house are wonderful traditions that Japan can be proud of. However, they are part of a world that prizes doing things "the same as yesterday" and this sort of formalization and standardization can have adverse effects. There are many Japanese who would like to have a teahouse where they could enjoy drinking tea without being bound by established forms. I have designed a number of teahouses in response to this demand."

This attitude -- that traditionalism is just another form of undesireable "standardization" -- is a good way to dismiss both Classicism and Modernism.

Fujimori seems impressed by Le Corbusier, but disappointed that he fudged his gardens.

Fruit juice + sandals meets something Tolkeinesque.

This looks more like a manga-esque alterno-future visualization exercise than architecture as we know it. Film production?

Chiho Aoshima friendly skyscrapers dot a rebuilt, drowned Tokyo 2107. Fujimori has a plan to reverse global warming. It involves blobby wattle skyscrapers and coral.

Why Marxism and environmentalism can only get stronger -- they're reactions to the inequality and unsustainability, stupid!

Rudolf Steiner's anthroposophical architecture. The organic forms and spiritual rootedness.

Fujimori is having his moment because he invokes (and evolves) national building idioms -- so very Shinto! -- and also because of Slow Life etc.

This sensitivity and whimsicality is how Japan can mark its difference from China. No to Brutalism! No to idiotic skyscrapers! No to economic standardization!

His roughened textures are a response to Japan's bland, sealed surfaces, where even wood looks like plastic or lino.

Shibamune roof -- a grass roof.

He proposes a museum where the viewers are naked -- I had an idea for a sento museum myself, after visiting the supersento at Shinsekai.

The future of texture: "I try to make the finish as rough as possible."

An alternative future in which organic forms and non-standardization make a surprise comeback.

Only Japan is currently advanced and tender enough (you need that unlikely combination) to produce buildings like these. They are the buildings of a future humankind is probably not advanced or tender enough to create.

There's something aristocratic about this work -- the One-Time Tearoom is designed for a single encounter between the client and Jacques Chirac.

Chirac is said to have a secret Japanese bank account. Perhaps some of it, if unfrozen, will be used to commission Fujimori?

Hermes in Ginza has also commissioned a couple of Fujimori structures, on view in the shop. How to make something interesting with a space only 4.5 tatamis wide?

ROJO -- architectural detectives, a group of friends who make affable observation trips. Genpei Akasegawa, Shinbo Minami, Joji Hayashi, Tetsuo Matsuda and others.

Sociability as revenge -- there is hidden aggression in the gentle chuckling of friends. To whom? To the joylessly business-minded.

You can be both future-oriented and sentimental.

What Florian said about warmth in 3D. You have to work on the texture to give life, make it warmer. Rough it up, make sure it's not too slick.

Hayao Miyazaki's animations have charmingly eccentric structures rather like Fujimori's.

He adds a rectangular skylight-top just to make the peaked top of his Too-High Treehouse more strange.

Inspirations: a stone house in Portugal; Pitchford Hall, Shropshire; Le Puy-en-Velasy, France; Callanish standing stones, Scotland; the Mosque of Djenne, Mali, and some architecture built into Japanese monastic caves.

Some of the ROJO slideshow touches on Atelier Bow Wow's Pet Architecture idea. Japan as a treasure trove of non-compliance, of micro-quirks.

The way white lines on the road, crash barriers or pipes make unscheduled departures from their routes to accommodate unexpected events. This too represents a tender-minded view of authority, a gentle rebellion. It seems particularly Japanese, like the cardigans people knit for the statues representing dead children. Can we imagine someone making a cardy for a statue of Christ on the cross? Just to keep him warm while he dies?

The West is present too. Claude-Nicolas Ledoux was the subject of Fujimori's grad thesis.

Vines (kudzu) make green houses.

Is this boutique architecture for lifestyle magazines or Steineresque cranky spirituality and seriousness?

"Wildness in Architecture" is the thematic title of a book about Fujimori.

Climbing a mountain: "This mountain is a god!"

The interiors are both rough and delicate. Wabi sabi!

Trouvaille: a lucky find, discovery, windfall. ROJO = patina trouvailles!

Primitivism -- how did the man who built the first house 10,000 years ago feel? "I want to rediscover that emotion."
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