Figure 1: Sendai Mediatheque
Figure 2: Existing building- UTS Tower

Model and Scale

Assessment 2B— Toyo Ito- “A Floating Object”

Buildings that appear as though they are “floating” can be generated by various visual qualities. This idea is employed in Toyo Ito’s work, particularly the Sendai Mediatheque (2001), as the design of the building, allows for light to pass through the transparent structure. The formation of this building is composed of three main elements, tubes, plates and skin, incorporating to produce a floating effect. It provokes a thought of flexibility through the use of the blurring boundaries. The essence of these light constructions create a sense of instability, as the media centre is supported by a unique system, in which Ito calls “characterising” architectural elements, which allows for complete visibility and transparency. Through the creation of the Sendai Mediatheque, Toyo Ito intends to embody a completely new concept of architecture.

Utilising Ito’s ideas and the chosen technique, I aim to recreate the Uts Tower and modify its unambiguous elements. While the static nature of the uts tower remains in my models, the goal was to gratify and replicate it to produce five objects that appeared to be “floating”. The transparent floor slabs were applied to my model, as Toyo Ito uses similar features as plates in the Sendai Mediatheque. Using clear and transparent elements was vital, as this was the fundamental feature used in striving for a “floating object”, which Toyo Ito manipulates in his strikingly prestigious work. Its contrasts the unambiguity of the UTS tower. The slightly tilted columns in my models were arranged to build similarities to Toyo Ito’s, Sendai Mediatheque, evident in Figure 3. My iterative process reveals a change in structure between each model, as the columns were rearranged in order to show a change in form as it progresses.

Figure 3: Columns of Sendai Mediatheque
Figure 4: Initial sketches

These initial sketches allowed me to note the dimensions of my model and gave me a clear idea on how the final product would look. The illustrations reveal the different structures I intended to employ in each model and as a result, a deeper understanding of the project was attained.

Figure 5: Equipment used

The equipment, evident in Figure 5, were vital in allowing me to complete my final product. The balsa wood was cut into sticks and used as a support system for each slab, as I aimed to slightly tilt these, similar to that of the columns in the Sendai Mediatheque. The plastic sheet was the major element used in tackling the chosen technique, due to its transparency. The foam core acted as the base for my models.

Figure 6: First three iterations

The first three iterations highlight the change in placement and formation of each model. The balsa wood sticks were rearranged as the iterative process continued. I aim to show the various structures that could be used to create the most aesthetic look, while focusing on the transparency of each model and the chosen technique.

Figure 7: Final models

Through experimentation and research, I was able to complete five final products, in which I was content and satisfied with. By interpreting the UTS tower as very closed and concealed, I began to modify its unambiguity, by recreating it to seem as though it is open and “floating”. This is evident through the use of the plastic sheet, as it is the key feature used in reinforcing the chosen technique.

Figure 8: Final model captured in the dark

Toyo Ito provokes a thought of a building coming alive in the night, as light is enabled to pass through the Sendai Mediatheque, due to the transparent structure. This essentially captures an intriguing, whereby the building is at its peak. I attempt to epitomise this idea, as Figure 8 presents an image of my final models taken in the dark, using a torch to pass light through them while doing so.

Reference List:

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