Assessment Task 2B: Modeling and scale


Toyo Ito: Japanese Architect

Toyo Ito is a highly regarded Japanese architect born june 1, 1941. Ito’s career is best defined by his Combination of elements of minimalism with an embrace of technology, to Both merge both traditional and contemporary elements in Japanese culture (Rory Scott, 2017). Ito began with an attentive observation of japanese consumer society and an interpretation of it social context (Itō, Toyoo, 2002). He came to the conclusion that in the west cities and their streets have a design and the context has precise points of reference, cities like Tokyo appear to be undifferentiated systems with neutral and ever Changing urban characteristics. This would mean that buildings in japan would quickly be demolished and replaced with others with new form and functions. Ito’s work seeks to avoid any kind of solidity and present an evanescent, fragile and mutable appearance.

Key ideas

  • Stratification
  • Ephemeral
  • Fluidity
  • Transparency

Toyo ito has developed the idea of an ephemeral architecture as the best way of reflecting these metropolitan non-contexts. Ito achieved this by using two strategies. Firstly manipulating material consistency is pared to the bone, In other words stripped back to the essentials. Lastly Ito Exploits technology to reduce the dimensions of the structures and details to the point where they all mostly vanish, making extensive use of glass to abstract the buildings from their materiality. Leading to a fragility similar to temporal installations (Itō, Toyoo, 2002).

Sendai mediatheque

one of ito’s most inspirational works is Sendai mediatheque, in essence the architecture was to describe making Visible the invisible. Ito would interpret the notion of “something invisible” as life(Itō, Toyoo, 2002). Ito would create the multiple pillars like seaweeds as an act of following the traces of the flow of water or air. In tern this created a sort of “water cube”, creating floating architecture. Key features to note are the gaps between the floors are not identical creating a variation in the rhythem.

First couple of model iterations
Final model

Using the Key ideas from Toyo Ito’s work on Sendai Mediatheque and the tower of winds Yokohama (1986). I began to focus on the contruction of a central pillar in which all levels would be supported. The Pillar would express Ito’s notion of fluidity as it would grow vertically in a organic shape, allowing me to add larger levels. This would place greater attention to the variety in diameter of each level of the column. Each layer would be made of a textured hard plastic to emphasise the theme of transparency as light was able to pass through each layer. The centre of the column would begin to become this sort of mini ecosystem and can be seen as a organic oasis begin to blur the nature of the boundaries of the building. The model would be scaled with a 1/100 model people to express the use of space in the context of it’s surroundings.

Reference list