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From Japanese tradition towards new subjectivity in the architecture of Kengo Kuma and Toyo Ito

  • Kristina Fridh (a1)

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The Japanese architects Kengo Kuma and Toyo Ito work with the formation of mental processes, which include spatial perceptions, but also haptic experiences. In this regard, they both connect to the Japanese architectural tradition. Therefore, it is interesting to compare their work, especially since visually the architecture of these two architects differs. However, through staged, unexpected and changeable experiences of materiality and spatial organisation – interacting in dynamic flow with the surroundings – similar mental processes are evoked when conceiving and perceiving their architecture that are an integral part of the ongoing processes to transform their architecture into ‘abstractions’. The point of departure for being involved in these similar, processual stage-settings is the creation of uncompleted experiences of wonder; a void, which is recognised from the traditional Japanese expressions for beauty – shibui and yugen – and described by Soetsu Yanagi as a hidden, subjective beauty. This in turn leads to a new subjectivity in connection with traditional Japanese conceptions of space, where space is a subjective perception and a changeable process in the mind of the beholder, and not an outside object. The references to the architectural tradition include the villa and the garden of Katsura and the architect Kazuo Shinohara, who opposed and criticised Western Modernism with the basis in his own Japanese tradition.

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From Japanese tradition towards new subjectivity in the architecture of Kengo Kuma and Toyo Ito

  • Kristina Fridh (a1)

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