Toyo Ito



Toyo Ito’s Talk

On November 17, Toyo Ito joined us on AnA to share his personal biography. Ito started talking about the landscape where he grew up, the Lake Suwa, in the north of Tokyo. Suwa Lake is in the middle of Japan and surrounded by mountains. This introspective landscape gave Ito a sense of interiority and closeness from the outside.

From the nature constant change, he got a sense of fluidity that influenced his architecture.

Ito exemplifies how his architecture is shaped by the “void as core” and his first project was in fact a house built around a courtyard but at the same time closed from it, with few openings.

Since his childhood water or fluidity had a big influence on Ito: people are connected through water and he defines information “invisible water”, because it connects people.

The very first sketch for the Mediatheque was conceived like a seaweed floating on the water. Through the structural tubes of the Mediatheque, people, wind and air move inside the building and circulate: that creates a fluid space not defined by walls or rooms.

A third element Ito cares about is “inner nature”. He illustrates it with a beautiful example of a sketch that shows a group of people enjoying the blossom of the cherry trees in circle, protected by cloth curtains. A simple act of surrounding the area, with a temporal structure, that creates a sacral space.

After finishing school, he started working for Kiyonori Kikutake where he got for the first time the feeling that architecture could be something that could interest him. He had to choose at first to study engineering, in order to be able to keep playing baseball.

The interest started when Kikutake told him that architecture is something that you have to think with your senses and the whole body, not with logic.

Nowadays Ito has workshop with school children where he teaches them to think about architecture. Amongst his passion he loves making wine. Making wine is like making architecture.

“You may think that making wine doesn’t have anything to do with architecture, but actually what I am finding is that there is always more to discover in architecture as well as wine making, you are never satisfied, you will just keep on searching and thinking, both in architecture and wine making.”


Key-Infos about Speaker:

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Born In:

Kent, England

Studied at:

Kingston Polytechnic


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Based on:

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5 most relevant projects are:

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Topics mentions on the talk:

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Social Media accounts:

Sadie Morgan is a founding director of dRMM and industry leader. Over her 25-year career she has played a key role in the advocacy of exemplary design and architecture, through her professional practice and advisory roles. In her role as a design champion Sadie is involved in a number of advisory roles including chairing the Independent Design Panel for High Speed Two, reporting directly to the Secretary of State and being one of ten commissioners for the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) led by Chief Executive Phil Graham.

Sadie became the youngest president of the Architectural Association in 2013, was short-listed for the AJ Woman Architect of the Year award in 2014 and most recently won the inaugural ‘Female Architectural Leader of the Year’ at the BD Architect of the Year awards.

About Toyo Ito & Associates, Architects

Toyo Ito & Associates, Architects is an architectural practice based in Tokyo. Ito is known for creating conceptual architecture, in which he seeks to simultaneously express the physical and virtual worlds.

Awards and prizes: Golden Lion from the International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, Royal Gold Medal from The Royal Institute of British Architects, The 22nd Praemium Imperiale in Honor of Prince Takamatsu, The Pritzker Architecture Prize, The UIA Gold Medal.

Representative projects: Sendai Mediatheque (Japan), Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2002 (UK), Tama Art University Library (Hachioji campus, Japan), Torres Porta Fira (Spain), Toyo Ito Museum of Architecture, Imabari (Japan), National Taiwan University, College of Social Sciences (Taiwan R.O.C.), ‘Minna no Mori’ Gifu Media Cosmos (Japan), Museo Internacional del Barroco (Mexico), National Taichung Theater (Taiwan R.O.C.), ‘Meguri no Mori’ Kawaguchi City Funeral Hall (Japan).

Check some of the pictures of the event:

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