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 (Figure 1). 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 (Figure 2). While some features of this building remain in my model, the goal was to gratify and replicate it to produce an object that seemed 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 a clear and transparent element at the base of my model was vital, as this was the fundamental feature used in striving for a “floating object”, which Toyo Ito manipulates in his strikingly prestigious work.

Figure 3: 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 views of the model and as a result, a deeper understanding of the project was attained.

Figure 4: Iterations of my model

After the sketching stage, I was able to create 3 iterations of my model, leaving them open to change, which allowed me to test it in different ways. Each iteration highlights a different number of columns, enabling me to decide which was most aesthetic. These iterations imitate my building process.

Figure 5: Equipment used for final product

The equipment, evident in Figure 5, were vital in allowing me to complete my final product. The balsa wood was cut into blocks and used as a support system for each slab, making it similar to the features of the UTS Tower. The acrylic sheet was the major element used in tackling the chosen technique, due to its transparency. The clear All Fix glue used, was significant, as it remained invisible.

Figure 6: Process work

Cutting the acrylic sheets to size, using a grinding machine, essentially created floor slabs for my project, depicting similar features to Toyo Ito’s work. The balsa wood was cut into blocks and used as a support system, to replicate the features of the UTS Tower, in which I aimed to recreate and modify.

Figure 7: Process work

Elaborating from Figure 6, the above image conveys an added acrylic sheet, put together using All Fix glue. The placement of each block of balsa wood and the acrylic sheets was a steady process, as I aimed to keep it looking neat and aesthetic.

Figure 8: Process work

After placing the final acrylic sheet, I began to decide whether placing extra elements on the roof of my model, would look aesthetic. I then proceeded to experiment and rearrange features to place on the roof.

Figure 9: Final product

Through experimentation and research, I was able to complete a final product in which I was content and satisfied with. By interpreting the UTS Tower as very closed and concealed, I was able to modify its unambiguity, by recreating it to seem as though it is open and “floating”. The thin strips of balsa wood on the roof, further reinforces the idea behind the chosen technique, as they are additional features, which also seem to be floating.

Reference List:

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