newurbanforms asked: Great lecture tonight! Very entertaining.

Thanks for coming!

Lecture: Air as Architecture
Considering that my lecture clashed with Rem Koolhaas’ book launch taking place at the same building in the same evening (sorry, Rem, for not making your do!), as well as that my lecture room was tucked away on the 4th floor, where only two of the four main lifts could get up to (why?), we had a fantastic turnout of people last Monday.
For those of you who came to my lecture, thank you for coming. For others, I will give your a taster here. This is one of the photos I showed that evening - it’s a view out of Okoshikake or “Waiting Bench,” one of several garden huts found in the famous garden of Katsura Imperial Villa. Notice how the stepping stones that lead up to it do not stop at its threshold but continue on right through it and out. …These stones, in other words, whip us into motion.
This is just one example amongst many in which architecture is used to keep us moving in Japan, by circulating air through it, and ultimately transforming us, the users, in the process. One question was raised after my lecture, however, asking whether or not there was an inherent contradiction in Japanese architecture, as there was a move to keep it open and porous, whilst, at the same time, all the more efforts were made to try contain it and keep it locked away. I don’t think I managed to sufficiently explain then, but what I can say is this: the transformation that is expected to take place through the traditional Japanese spatial rendition - the journey through space as well as time - is still very much a prescribed one and I don’t see them as being necessarily contradictory; both are ways to exert and maintain some kind of control on our bodies and minds. In the modern era, we see all together different trends emerging but we should still consider what kind of control is being exerted and maintained.
…I think I could do a whole course on this - anyone interested in developing it with me?
Photo credit: Yoshiharu Matsumura

Lecture: Air as Architecture

Considering that my lecture clashed with Rem Koolhaas’ book launch taking place at the same building in the same evening (sorry, Rem, for not making your do!), as well as that my lecture room was tucked away on the 4th floor, where only two of the four main lifts could get up to (why?), we had a fantastic turnout of people last Monday.

For those of you who came to my lecture, thank you for coming. For others, I will give your a taster here. This is one of the photos I showed that evening - it’s a view out of Okoshikake or “Waiting Bench,” one of several garden huts found in the famous garden of Katsura Imperial Villa. Notice how the stepping stones that lead up to it do not stop at its threshold but continue on right through it and out. …These stones, in other words, whip us into motion.

This is just one example amongst many in which architecture is used to keep us moving in Japan, by circulating air through it, and ultimately transforming us, the users, in the process. One question was raised after my lecture, however, asking whether or not there was an inherent contradiction in Japanese architecture, as there was a move to keep it open and porous, whilst, at the same time, all the more efforts were made to try contain it and keep it locked away. I don’t think I managed to sufficiently explain then, but what I can say is this: the transformation that is expected to take place through the traditional Japanese spatial rendition - the journey through space as well as time - is still very much a prescribed one and I don’t see them as being necessarily contradictory; both are ways to exert and maintain some kind of control on our bodies and minds. In the modern era, we see all together different trends emerging but we should still consider what kind of control is being exerted and maintained.

…I think I could do a whole course on this - anyone interested in developing it with me?

Photo credit: Yoshiharu Matsumura

In less than a month’s time, I will be giving a lecture at the Barbican  on history of Japanese architecture from the perspective of…well, air.  I’m hoping that it would be an entertaining evening, nothing too  academic, as I flip the Japanese architect Junya Ishigami’s idea of  “Architecture as Air,” which is currently on show at the Curve, and explore,  instead, “Air as Architecture.”

In less than a month’s time, I will be giving a lecture at the Barbican on history of Japanese architecture from the perspective of…well, air. I’m hoping that it would be an entertaining evening, nothing too academic, as I flip the Japanese architect Junya Ishigami’s idea of “Architecture as Air,” which is currently on show at the Curve, and explore, instead, “Air as Architecture.”

My article on Tadao Ando’s House in Sri Lanka is published on Dezeen. The text has been replenished with lots of unpublished anecdotes that you might enjoy reading about. I was fortunate enough to actually visit it. (BTW you have to scroll down quite a bit to get to the beginning of my text.)

My article on Tadao Ando’s House in Sri Lanka is published on Dezeen. The text has been replenished with lots of unpublished anecdotes that you might enjoy reading about. I was fortunate enough to actually visit it. (BTW you have to scroll down quite a bit to get to the beginning of my text.)

I am one of the eleven participants from MA Architectural History course to be in this year’s MArch + MA Exhibition 2011 at the UCL Bartlett. We have made a cool pamphlet that you can take home and read the bits from our essays and reports. Here is a little taster for you. Lots of great stuff to titillate your neurons, perfect for bed-time reading!

I am uploading here a section of what Professor Iain Borden had to say about our texts in the afterword of our pamphlet:

These texts by the graduates of the MA Architectural History programme cover an extraordinary range of subjects, ranging from buildings, construction elements and materials to discourses, representations and ideas. […] And while focusing their historical lens primarily on the last two centuries, they go back much further whenever necessary […] What we end up with, therefore, is not so much a set of answers – although there is of course much of value to be learned here – but a set of interpretations, speculations and challenges as to the way we understand architecture, produce architecture and experience architecture today. These graduates ask not only “how was it in the past?” but also “how might it be in the present (and future)?”

If any of you are coming to the opening party on 27th September (starting at 6PM), be sure to tap me on the shoulder and say hello!

MArch + MA Exhibition 2011 

Tuesday 27th September  - Saturday 1st October  2011
Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, Wates House, 22 Gordon Street, London, WC1H 0QB

MArch Urban Design
MArch Architectural Design
MA Architectural History

Opening Party Tuesday September 27th at 18:00 at Wates House

Opening Times:
Tuesday 18:00 - 21:00
Wednesday - Friday 10:00 - 18:00
Saturday 10:00 - 16:00

My Article on Tadao Ando’s House in Sri Lanka for the Sunday Telegraph’s supplement magazine, Stella. I hardly recognized my own text, as it has been through the editorial mill. Still, I’m putting it up on my blog. (dezeen has published a version that is more faithful to my original text)

My Article on Tadao Ando’s House in Sri Lanka for the Sunday Telegraph’s supplement magazine, Stella. I hardly recognized my own text, as it has been through the editorial mill. Still, I’m putting it up on my blog. (dezeen has published a version that is more faithful to my original text)

My article on The Cat House by Key Operation Inc. is published on Dezeen. Akira Koyama of Key Operation and I met working years ago at David Chipperfield Architects. Here our paths cross again, virtually.

My article on The Cat House by Key Operation Inc. is published on Dezeen. Akira Koyama of Key Operation and I met working years ago at David Chipperfield Architects. Here our paths cross again, virtually.

I’m working backwards in time…here is the link to the talk / symposium I participated with the Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto and others in 2010. It was organised by Architecture Foundation in relation to the Future Beauty exhibition at the Barbican. One of the most interesting comments made during the evening was by Fujimoto who said that Issey Miyake incorporated air into design, which possibly made his work very Japanese. I found a detailed review of the evening here.
Sophie Hicks (who is sitting next to me) and I actually made quite a contrast that evening because I was wearing a Mina Perhonen’s dress, which was black, thin & transparent, while Sophie’s Comme des Garçons gown from the 80s was white, very thick and well padded!

I’m working backwards in time…here is the link to the talk / symposium I participated with the Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto and others in 2010. It was organised by Architecture Foundation in relation to the Future Beauty exhibition at the Barbican. One of the most interesting comments made during the evening was by Fujimoto who said that Issey Miyake incorporated air into design, which possibly made his work very Japanese. I found a detailed review of the evening here.

Sophie Hicks (who is sitting next to me) and I actually made quite a contrast that evening because I was wearing a Mina Perhonen’s dress, which was black, thin & transparent, while Sophie’s Comme des Garçons gown from the 80s was white, very thick and well padded!

Here is my review of the talk Kazuyo Sejima, one half of SANAA, gave at the Royal Institution, which took place last year. I had never met her before this but having spotted her cuffing away her fag outside the building before the lecture, I went up to her and introduced myself. Sejima said she was nervous about giving a lecture in English. To me, part of the charm of that evening was her broken English!

Here is my review of the talk Kazuyo Sejima, one half of SANAA, gave at the Royal Institution, which took place last year. I had never met her before this but having spotted her cuffing away her fag outside the building before the lecture, I went up to her and introduced myself. Sejima said she was nervous about giving a lecture in English. To me, part of the charm of that evening was her broken English!

My review of Tadao Ando’s lecture at the Royal Institution last week. After the lecture, I heard an elderly couple (I wonder who they were…) discussing how they were impressed with Ando’s sense of humour. I realised then that the general perception of Ando has been that he is a moody architect, with ferocious tantrums. I find him rather amusing, especially with his Osaka dialect. At 70, he appears incredibly youthful. Perhaps you lot (by that, I mean, ‘young’ architects) should take up some boxing to keep up with him?

My review of Tadao Ando’s lecture at the Royal Institution last week. After the lecture, I heard an elderly couple (I wonder who they were…) discussing how they were impressed with Ando’s sense of humour. I realised then that the general perception of Ando has been that he is a moody architect, with ferocious tantrums. I find him rather amusing, especially with his Osaka dialect. At 70, he appears incredibly youthful. Perhaps you lot (by that, I mean, ‘young’ architects) should take up some boxing to keep up with him?