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The Olympic Pavilion & Ayame Sunglasses

Posted on August 02 2021

As the Olympics continue in Tokyo there have been multiple scandals surrounding people involved in the games, as well as with the athletes. The number of corona virus cases have reached over 2,800, we have never had so many cases since the pandemic started. Prime Minister Suga’s public support ratings are down to 30% and it is unlikely that he will remain Prime Minister after the new election.

No one was very pleased with the opening ceremony. When people who looked like taiko drummers came out, that is what we expected. Instead we saw tap dancing?

Nevertheless, we do follow the games from home and feel happy to see people who have trained so hard, to fulfill their dreams !

There are also many art pop-ups around the city, which is nice. As part of the Pavilion Tokyo 2021 program, six globally acclaimed Japanese architects and two renowned artists were enlisted to design temporary pavilions for Tokyo’s Olympic and Paralympic Games. Below are the exhibitions:

Terunobu Fujimori (1946-) has been creating architectural works integrated with nature. The base of the Tea House “Go-an” is covered in grass. The charred cedar (yakisugi) used for the upper exterior walls, are made by burning and carbonizing The surface of cedar wood. The char layer on the surface of the wooden boards protects them from deterioration and enhances fire resistance.

After entering the waiting room on the ground floor and taking the ladder to the tea room upstairs, you can view the new Japan National Stadium out of the large window.

Fujimori, not only is Japan's leading architectural historian, but also a maverick figure who made his late debut as an architect at the age of 45. His representative works include “Kusayane (Grass roof)” and “Douyane (Copper roof)” in La Collina Omi-Hachiman, and “Mosaic Tile Museum Tajimi”. The Tea House “Go-an” which stands just opposite of the Japan National Stadium is the latest of many of the tea houses that he has created.

“After all, I like heights. Not only can you see the entire tea house well, but from there you can also view the stadium. A tea house requires otherworldly characteristics. Instead of it just standing on the ground, it requires height. Once You climb up and enter through the narrow and dark crawl-in entrance, you see a completely different scenery. This effect is quite unique to tea houses ”(Terunobu Fujimori)

 

Kazuyo Sejima (1956-) was particular about creating a pavilion somewhere where you could sense both history and modernity at the same time. The Hama-rikyu Gardens is a representative Daimyo Teien (feudal lord's garden) of the Edo Period, with a tidal pond (a type of pond formed with seawater that changes its shape depending on the rise and fall of the tide) and two duck hunting sites. Sejima was convinced that this traditionally styled garden which stands in stark contrast to the skyscrapers of the neighboring Shiodome district is “A place where you can access both historical and modern aspects of Tokyo”. She created a pavilion inspired by a winding stream (a type of waterway built in gardens of the Heian Period), to match the various waterways that are in the Hama- rikyu Gardens.The pavilion is installed on the former site of the “Enryo-kan” State Guesthouse of the Meiji Period. The title “Suimei'' It has been named with the hope of imagining a bright future from the ever-changing water surface, which at the same time reflects the history of Tokyo.It has been named with the hope of imagining a bright future from the ever-changing water surface, which at the same time reflects the history of Tokyo.It has been named with the hope of imagining a bright future from the ever-changing water surface, which at the same time reflects the history of Tokyo. 

“It can be said that Hama-rikyu is a garden that coexists with water. I thought about adding water into that scenery, to depict modern society. The winding stream looks as if it is still when viewed from a distance. But when you look at it closely, you realize that it is flowing quietly. This slowly flowing water represents the connection between the past, present and future. ”(Kazuyo Sejima)

Sou Fujimoto (1971-) designed a cloud-shaped pavilion. He expresses his admiration for clouds, and his belief that they are “the ultimate architecture that envelopes all kinds of things for its immense size”. Inspired by clouds that float over various countries This pavilion is installed at two completely different locations, Yoyogi Park, as if they were a “big roof of the world”, he designed the pavilion under the concept “a place for everyone”, to symbolize diversity and tolerance. And Takanawa Gateway Station --a park and a recently built train station building. By placing the exact same thing in different locations, Fujimoto not only aims at visualizing the differences of each location, but to express the concept of a cloud enveloping various places at the same time.

“It has an exterior but doesn't have walls, yet an inner space exists. Moreover, the three-dimensional inner space is extremely complex and dynamic. Clouds cannot be realized with architecture, yet they make us feel like there is something architectural to them. ”(Sou Fujimoto)

Junya Ishigami: “There is an old residence in Kudanshita, which was built in 1927 (the second year of the Showa Period) by Mankichi Yamaguchi, a wealthy businessman. Architects including Tachu Naito, who designed the Tokyo Tower, were involved in its construction. In the old but beautiful garden of this residence, I built a canopy that gently shields us from the sunlight, which will be present only this summer.

In order for the newly built canopy to blend in with the historical scenery, I thought of giving it an aged look from the beginning. Specifically, I plan to fill the garden with wooden pillars and roofs, which have been burnt using the Yakisugi technique (By adjusting the fire heat, the surface of the cedar wood is carbonized, and some parts of the wooden structure are burned away. The wooden structure that spreads widely across the The carbonized jet-black wooden structure has a similar appearance to an abandoned house too. It looks as if it transformed. From a new building to a ruined house,and underwent the transition of a building due to aging in an instant.

The black wooden structure covers and hides the surrounding skyscrapers which were non-existent in the early Showa period, and the countless beams of light that pour through the holes in the structure blend with the sunshine filtering through foliage. As the modern scenery that peeps through the trees disappears and the strong sunshine of the summer softens, visitors share the same ancient time that flows within the garden. The jet-black structure is the cool shadow that drifts in between the old trees on a summer's evening. ”(Junya Ishigami)

“I wondered if it would be possible to create an architecture that is new yet looked like it had always been there, which blended in with the historical landscape.” (Junya Ishigami)

When the Pavilion Tokyo 2021 project initially started in 2018, Teppei Fujiwara (1975-) who was interested in the history of streets as the origin of theater, was planning to design a pavilion under the theme of “a street-like theater”. However, after reflecting on the immense changes over the past year, he saw it as an opportunity to rethink the role of how theater can help to find a response. Fujiwara decided to create “a theatre for plants and people” where the gardening culture inherited from the Edo Period is presented as a continuous legacy of our relationship with the natural world.

The completed pavilion is made of an open wooden framework, designed to enable plants to grow entangled with the people and culture of the city. The “plant beam” is a structural beam that also plays home to a diverse collection of vegetation. A small architectural. Element That Creates A Place For Plants To Belong, Which Can Also Be Used As Furniture For People To Sit On And Rest.

This pavilion is a story of how plants and people come together in Tokyo. A new kind of garden within the city where people can easily join into this longstanding urban culture of making gardens in Tokyo.

“We can say that gardening is the smallest scale of order in a city like Tokyo. Through this pavilion, I want to present the story of the plants and streets in Tokyo” (Teppei Fujiwara)

 

The bowl-like structured pavilion by Akihisa Hirata (1971-), allow people to walk through it and even sit on it, is constructed using twisted geometry which loosens and strengthens the boundaries between the inner and outer space at the same time. In other words, while forming a small closed area in the city, at the same time it connects with the outer world. The premises of the United Nations University is the place where you can feel the huge void in the city, which is created from the neighbouring This pavilion is placed in the center of this void, as if it were an observational facility.

This architectural work created by assembling wood which has been cut using the latest Japanese three-dimensional cutting technology, stands with both a strong sense of materiality and something resembling the fineness of a craftwork. A hole-like space bringing various contexts in the city will be realized.

“These days, I think that the architecture we design should embody a“ different dimension ”which pierces through the mediocre reality” (Akihisa Hirata)

Yayoi Kusama: is a participatory, this installation where visitors cover a room painted entirely white with brightly colored stickers in the shape of dots. Throughout the exhibition, the room gradually "obliterates" as it becomes covered In dots.

"Self-Obliteration" has been a long- standing theme for Yayoi Kusama (1929-) since the 1960s. As the polka dots cover up bodies and spaces, everything --including her own body and others --disappearing into them.

“For example, by covering my entire body with polka dots, and then covering the background with polka dots as well, I find self-obliteration. Or I stick polka dots all over a horse standing before a polka-dot background, and the form The mass that is'horse' is absorbed into something timeless. And when that happens, I too am obliterated. ”(Yayoi Kusama,“ Infinity Net: The Autobiography of Yayoi Kusama ”, 2002 )

Makoto Aida (1965-) created two castles made out of cardboard and blue tarps. These are both reliable materials as they are durable even though they are cheap. They also share a similar characteristic, as they both symbolize temporariness instead of permanence. Aida has By utilizing these two materials, this pavilion becomes a representation of human beings' resilience. It is also a criticism towards modern sculpture which only uses heavy, hard, expensive and long-lasting materials.

The stone mound on which this pavilion is installed was built during the construction of the Meiji Jingu outer gardens, using what once used to be the stone walls supporting the Edo Castle. It was designed and constructed by architectural engineer Toshikata Sano, who led the barracks construction after the Great Kanto Earthquake and also promoted the use of reinforced concrete in primary school buildings. The cardboard and blue tarp castle standing on the stone mound is a message of encouragement --“ let's get through this together ”--from Tokyo to various regions in Japan that still suffers from the damages left by disasters. It also represents a strong sense of determination to face disasters that Tokyo is likely to experience someday soon. 

“What I want to emphasize is the opposite of permanence --temporariness, unreliableness, paltriness --as well as the bravery in trying to withstand such characteristics. I'll never know what the outcome will be like unless I try creating it. Sink or swim , I will try. I want to dedicate the outcome to Japan of today --or more specifically to Tokyo ”. (Makoto Aida)

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