Toyo Ito — A floating object

Toyo Ito believed in the idea of architecture fitting seamlessly with its surroundings and connecting the community with very open buildings that could be depicted as ‘floating’. He achieves this through organic architecture with lots of open space. In his model of the Sendai Mediatheque he made columns of various sizes to appear as trees in a forest (see Figure 1). These columns were made of small pieces of metal to give it strength. They were also not solid columns, but more like cylinders with space down the middle of them. The walls of these cylinders were also not completely solid. All this added to the affect of the building ‘floating’. The floors were made of clear Perspex, again strengthening the idea that the building is floating. Them being clear allows light to be shone from underneath (Toyo Ito 2003). The light being able to travel through the floors adds to the theme of making the building float. The clear Perspex and open columns allow the space to feel very open and free. Toyo Ito used his models to portray an idea of pure organic architecture. By this I mean an architecture that not only fits in with its natural habitat, but also reflects it. The materials used along with the lighting gives the space a very enchanted, spiritual feel.

Figure 1 : Sendai Mediatheque model

I wanted to change the Blue Building into a floating piece of architecture. I was content on using wire as my columns as I liked the idea that the columns would be constantly connected from top to bottom. The wire being thin would also help in creating the floating affect for the different floors. I initially planned on using cardboard for the different floors, but discovered it would be too flimsy (see Figure 2). I decided to use white foam core. It was strong and light, and the white helped add to the floating affect, as it looked ‘light’. I created different columns using the wire on smaller scale models (see Figure 3–6). These experiments allowed me to finalise the design of the Blue Building (see Figure 7). I chose to twist the wire columns to give a more conceptual image for the building. The wire being so thing allows the space to look very open and free throughout the building. The wire legs at the bottom also give the affect that even the bottom floor is floating.

Figure 2 : Cardboard as floors
Figure 3 : Random wires as columns
Figure 4 : Wires at a slight angle
Figure 5 : Straight wire columns
Figure 6 : Wire columns twisted
Figure 7 : Final design of Blue Building

Reference List

mediateca de sendai — toyo ito, 2010, viewed May 15, 2017, <>.

Toyo Ito 2003, Sendai Mediatheque, 1st Edition, Actar, Barcelona

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