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Architectural Discussion #01.While picking up the fictional city

This is the log of architectural discussion of Kaede Hatashima; Keio University Graduation School, and with Naoyuki Kunikiyo who is a master student of Tokyo University of the arts Graduation School.


[fig.1]Milk bottle; deconstruction and reconstruction of image

Hatashima:

This magazine, AOM; Action Of Me is for looking back on recent my actions among Japanese architectural fields and world institutes. Through this documentation, I notice that my works through research to design totally operated the philosophy of “Rhythm-scape. I made sure that Mr. Kunikiyo designed in similar approach as I show on late in this book and I think this type of philosophy is one of the biggest trend among Japanese architectural students.


Kunikiyo:

Our first contact is through exhibition at Kanda in Tokyo(全国設計行脚)*1 and this time we were 3rd grade. I really interested in “how normal buildings; not architecture, is designed”. Also I thought that these buildings may be born from some kind of philosophy however it's “normal”. And I explored philosophy for physical design from unphysical factors as images and methods in my brain through this period. In Rough translation about my philosophy, design from microelements and I called this way as “Micro Re: construction”.


Hatashima:

I got it. I remind similar (but different) approach comes from similar issue. Before this notice, I thought works by architects is just “works” and they think about town-scape in different way. Thus architects consider that “buildings are not architectures”. On the other hand, I thought that aesthetics as normal were hidden beyond normal life of citizen. This is the beginning of my interest. I have related to the idea of your design process like install “normal scape” once, and express new scape(generally it's architecture) through filter. Filter of you as an architect. Does your mention ;“philosophy for physical design from unphysical factors” means such kind of filter?


Kunikiyo:

Kind of. The most important thing for me is that I couldn’t find any outstanding characteristic of “normal scape” though I stop to walk in spite of myself.

Normal…but really glamorous. Every time I ask myself why I felt them so glamorous and understand when I brand new normal-scape. Filtering is the method that similar to common city-design that makes complex design from cities diversity. Then today, I come to think such kind of complexes are the architectural concrete example of forms from “un-physical ideas” though its inherent in urban complex design.


Hatashima:

It is easy to share same opinion. Also I have experience to feel glamorous feeling from normal-scape. I get architectural experience every time I find architectural element like “steps toward anywhere” or “passage from anywhere” as known as THOMASON *2. At the same time, I imagine invisible urban layers from these elements. I think these layers are really important elements to design something new through normal-scape. The layers I can imagine are limited on the other hand because normal scape is complex design by several designer. So you said “its inherent in urban complex design”.

I called these complex design as “rhythm scape of urban” ; and this concept brought up through my research at studio of AA school (and explain later). As you mentioned “normal buildings may be born from some kind of philosophy however it's ‘normal’ ” in the beginning of this conversation, urban and scape contain huge number of designs; and these designs contain huge number of philosophy. So nothing is normal in urban-scape strictly. Definitely when we say “normal-scape”, it is not about “averaged-scape” but “deviated-scape”, that is to say scape is grown up with complex of many factors like culture or vernacular; as deviates. This may be the reason of my experience to feel glamorous feeling from normal-scape. You said your design start from filtering.

I have two questions. At first, do you call this deviation (or process to filter glamorous elements from normal-scape) as “Filtering”? Secondly, do you want to act as an not-neutral architect? Because…you may miss many elements with potential through filtering normal-scape to deviated-scape by your own filter; which you love or not.


Kunikiyo:

I deviate normal-scape. But on the other hand normal scape is still deviated as you said. My idea of “filtering” is almost same as normal design process. In depth discussion, I think originality may be required in how I deviate. This is the filtering. You called this process as “rhythm-scape” and I called “filtering”, and when I care about these processes create new normal-scape, we does not have to stick to be neutral.


I have tried literal translations next to filtering through series of my works, then I notice that it is really important to import sense of urban time to my design. The time is one of the biggest difference between architecture design and urban design. Filtering urban time to gain architectural time is my recent interest, and which neutral or not designers are, is not important. Thus just I always think in dry.



[fig.2]Deconstruction view from daily life to reconstruct architectural language

Hatashima:

I remember Japanese architects before 2000’s control their own design by strong arbitrary and this arbitrary operate through site analysis to architecture. But architects we know; generation after 2000’s, aim on neutral for environments. For example our studio at our own institutes require us to be neutral when we carry on research and survey. This educational situation we got is very likely 21 centuries, and it is hard to think between neutral and arbitrary for us. It is particular situation for we Japanese new generation. Thus your mention “which neutral or not designers are, is not important” really encourage this generation. Needless to say, I agree with your mention “think in dry” when I think about “rhythm-scape” and “filtering” as totally different attitude from generation before 2000’s.


Here we get new theme; filtering urban time to gain architectural time. Have you already engage this interest in exhibition at Kanda in Tokyo(全国設計行脚)*1 ?


Kunikiyo:

I have not carried on for this interest particularly from the exhibition at Kanda. After the exhibition I engage to my graduation project, and began to care about time. In detail I filtered time of accidental scape seen in city-scape; for example, accidental position of scattered litters or accidental boundary shaped by green in particular season. I have started to use “time” as a variable factor of architecture at the same time. I called this accidental factors as “fictional-city”, and yet I treat it abuse seriously. Same as rhythm-scape, fictional-scape contain complex factors as you said “urban and scape contain huge number of designs; and these designs contain huge number of philosophy” a short while ago. Many wills of designer create fictional-city, and it is still be as “deviated-scape” but almost similar to “averaged-scape”.


Hatashima:

Ok, I got about your interest of urban-time.

I carried the introduction of my work <Listen Space Carefully> on chapter 10. Through the research for this work, Professor Tak of AA school in London; and my course master gave me criticism, he said “Kensei, as you know urban have its own time. Rhythm-scape which you arguing may better to supported by time. Look, rhythm-scape is changed by time ”, then he showed me to move my chair. At that studio I seriously thought about how to express urban-time, and I think your question started from similar interest.


I plot all cigarettes dusts on the map of London at that time by the way. Cigarettes dusts are appeared every day and disappeared every time it gets rain. I thought it reflect flowing urban-time. Though it never gets end because of its hugeness…, but still the sense through this experience existing core of rhythm-scape. Thus, I can share your idea for fictional-scape. I think the word “fictional” clearly express reality of existences clearly though they are invisible factors like THOMASON. I know you try to solve issue of urban-time in architectural research for your graduation project. I am really interested in how you proceed your actual design through your graduation project. Could you tell me about your graduation project through relation of exhibition at Kanda in Tokyo.


Kunikiyo:

Your project which try to capture flow of urban-time through cigarettes dusts sounds keen approach I think. Then I am interested in how you find relationship between research and architectural design because this kind of approach highlight reality of urban life, and tend to leaded on the direction for symbolism as post-modern I think.


To be honest, I felt it is difficult to try issue of urban-time in architectural research through our exhibition at Kanda. I designed in simple method at the exhibition, because I tried to escape from the direction to post-modern; just import design code and building type from normal theory though after my huge research. My proposal of graduation project is perpetual memorial tomb, and such program spaces for dead support to avoid issue of post-modern direction to tell the truth. I set a problem that logic of economy and sense of governance works around existence of graves, though it is space just for dead. And oddly enough, graves are designed by alive men. Then my original idea; filter by “fictional-city”, is consisted by such works by alive men. And collect factor from dead, as a space for dead. Huge spaces existing inside of city for alive men existing on another theory from our life. Such alternative spaces; not as architecture nor city, just like as holy ground, are being with both dead and alive men, and it is which I designed. Shortly, my aim is not to make real aspect of the city visible, but for including alternative factors inside of my design, and the design are brand as “time = fictional”.


Hatashima:

I have experience to dive my design beyond my first expectation by method of “deviated-scape” when I touched deep inside of urban realism. Such distance between expectation and real is avoid research for “deviate anonymous scape” in the point of equality among architectural factors; as section of we alive men. Now I reached one result that we designer would better to set emptiness of logics between research (or survey) and physical results as spaces. The emptiness is not for avoid literal logic, but for translation to achieve next quality of architecture.


I guess your design which for challenge to give meaning of time (as fictional-scape) is the reflection of our living world, in the point of grave have another layer of city for alive men.


Your design processs that you mentioned “I tried to escape from the direction to post-modern; just import design code and building type from normal theory though after my huge research” is shared with me through our exhibition and symposium at Kanda. At that exhibition may gave unique idea for fame generation because the processes we showed are made of theory as “rhythm-scape” or “micro Re: construction” though our approach is mainly with research or survey with humanity. Then such humanity probably considered as pre-modern method, but it is not so. We tried to lead sectional factors of urban humanity through theory. I believed it got back to gaze urban-time. I think you are still beyond modern by your graduation project, and I am interested in how you did actually. Show me some example to capture “urban-time” through “fictional-time”.



[fig.3]micro Re: construction

[fig.4]Final Design (From exhibition in Thailand)

[fig.5]Space diagram

Kunikiyo:

It includes “temporality” and “complexity” in short. I think to be dry attitude for design is same as how I adjust physical factors. I will talk about one example. Physical factors have its meanings or function as their creators ideas. So still almost all form have some meaning at first when I find it. But, fiction; as we talked about, is without meaning and function basically. Add to say about actual design from fiction, I cropped scape into pictures as normal scape at first. Secondly I pic up visible form as vectors. Then use these vectors as tools to define composition of space in three dimension. Through these three steps, one of the most important part is the process to give meanings to forms; which were without meanings and functions. I have taken this process from the time of our exhibition at Kanda.


Hatashima:

Literally it is “fictional-scape”. Fictional-scape is striped meaning and function, and treated as a excreta of city; and the excreta rejected to exist inside of city. The program among dead and alive can associate such situation of excreta, and I feel you divide function and meaning of city to dead when I think from meta-viewpoint. Your method that translate to vector once may be filter of designer. “Filter” sounds like impure process as a bending of research, but I mean positive filter that combine designers idea with research.

You strip meaning once and give it again by your side. How you did actually? I want to know about both works; works of our exhibition and graduation project.


Kunikiyo:

Crucial difference makes distance between two theories for both works. That is which I think human and spaces as same or not. I filtered behaviors of people to space design basically at our exhibition at Kanda, and the filter collect shape without meanings and functions, though they will gain meanings or functions after I give shape to. As same on people, behaviors would be led when they touch shape of space that I design. I thought this behaviors contain pure factors of urban-time at that time.


I did not think about such behaviors for my graduation project on the other hand, because if I think about behaviors of people (or pureness of architectural factors), real pureness of physical form will be decreased. These ways for filtering are alternative, and impossible to say which is better. I choose previous way at my graduation project just because it is “grave” for dead and alive. Dead never behave at graveyard, but alive behaves.


Hatashima:

Interesting. You recycled form of urban as vectors; that have no meanings and functions, and aim on incidental behavior. But you did not it for your graduation project because graveyard is a space for dead, and it does not have to include incidental behavior. Yet it have no meanings and functions.


Then I try to critique your method from the view-point of “rhythm-scape”. I am interested in how you reflect your research to particular part of your design actually. You can compose eternal pattern of design by your choice through the process you mentioned in actual work. For example you can control your design by which forms you collect, or how you make vectors from these forms. I think this step would control quality of your final work. Tell me some if you have some rule at that step.


Kunikiyo:

I began my design from 30 fictional-scape from boundless urban-scape, though the number of forms used to be 120 or 54 at very first time. 30 fictional-scape is just final result. At next step, I designed 150 spaces for praying from 30 fictional-scape, and selected 77 spaces from 150. Final worksare consist of 77 spaces for praying. I did not care about these series of numbers have no meanings, but I pay attention to logical correctness. These process are powered by huge time and will of me. I paid 10 days for these researches and studies.


As a rule to control quality of final work, I edit sequences between 77 spaces with planning behavior of alive. Of course the quality must be control to exist consistency. I have no logic through final step of my design work to tell the truth.


[fig.6]Micro reconstruction for another daily scape

Hatashima:

So you do not use logical decision at the step from research to design process. I agree with such your attitude and think logic can not determine everything from start to end. Operation by my inspiration with research will work enough. Designer is not slave of logic anyway.


This discussion relativize our methods for design. Our action would take distance from each other after our exhibition, but still agree with same opinion; reconstruct scape by filtering nomal-scape. Your approach “design from microelements” that mentioned at the beginning of this discussion is really exiting. Will you continue approach as “micro Re: construction”?

And let me know your next plan.


Kunikiyo:

Yes, I will continue it of course. Expositions for my logic are going to change up on my feeling at that time I think, but logic is static though and proceed, I think. Now I have 5 topics which are relative with “micro Re: construction”. I will explain about these topics;


1. Coexistence

2. Relational size

3. Narrative

4. Anonymous

5. Echo of feeling


I do not mention about detail this time. Meanings of each topic is same as I mentioned through this discussion. My works will pic up appropriate topics from these 5 of “micro Re: construction” in each case.



[fig.6]Mind map of designer

Hatashima.

You found 5 interest through your previous works, and use appropriate topics as tools. As you know, logic inspire you with real side of urbanism, but once lack aim of it, a possibility of your work will be operated by the logic. I means it is easy to lose control. We must be carefully to use our own logic for real works.


Kunikiyo.

Yes, both of our design logics aim on how to share our vision with non-specialist of architecture, and it also guide us to correct future. Thus these kind of logics that can share physical impression beyond logic is possible to connect another value next to semantics with globalization in old days.


Hatashima.

Recent works by young generation in Japan show mood shift clearly. As the logic after 3.11, their approaches are standing on community design. Yet they try to obtain subjectivity of environments and users (identical with community) by workshop and self-build as we know. As I introduced in middle of this magazine, our Asian culture get bigger and it comes to be almost main stream of international market, and this market is with common practice of “scrap and build”. We next Asian generation must find new value for such future. I means we must update architectural theory to share subjectivity of old building to next architecture immediately. As I mentioned about 3.11, we have thought about community for long time and update of this theory comes as “micro Re: construction” or “rhythm scape”. Our logics are possible to export Asian market I think, and this future will be next to semantics as another possibility of globalization. The globalization that I said is not for integrating culture but for updating vernacular cultures to next quality. I have bright vision for the future of architecture. Thanks for great discussion. I learned a lot.


Kunikiyo.

I received many new opinion that brand new future.

Thank you.

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