In the 1990s, I have had the chance to live in Tôkyô, a wonderful city that I felt in love with. I've lived in Suginami ward, a suburban ward located in the west side of Shinjuku, and Nakano. I've lived, precisely, in Iogi district (Seibu Shinjuku Line). At this time, I was fond of this ward but I found it a little bit polluted (asthma has not helped me at this time). Suginami was a high densety residential ward with small and medium scaled-houses (mostly single-detached houses and medium-scaled apartments). Recently, large-scaled buildings raised out : Suginami is now an heterogeneous landscape like most of Tokyo wards (a Urban village to quote Tsukamoto Yoshiharu of Atelier Bow-Wow).
I was reading 5 minutes ago Julian Worrall's article entitled "A Sculptured Chunk" (Icon Magazine, August issue). My eyes stopped on an wonderful curved meteoritic, implanted between small, medium and large-scaled houses and buildings.
Za-Koenji Public Theatre is Itô Tôyô's latest project. The building is a community theatre with international aspirations. The volumes are vertically stacked with 230-seat auditorium and, 250-300 seat conventional theater. It articulates studio, foyers, cafe and ancillary spaces.
I am attracted by the form of this building. The skin looks like a turtle carapace. It is made of homogenous metal skin shelters.
As Julian Worral notes, Itô Tôyô explores the potential of forms and structure : Sendai Mediatheque, Tower of Winds Yokohama, Tod's Omotesando, Mikimoto Ginza are several examples that illustrate his interest for the relationship of the structure and the form. The goal of his reseach is to find new spatial conditions.
Londoners may remember of his project for Serpentine Gallery, that he realised in 2002. The building was made of a composite of panels composed of a primary member and secondary stabilizers, all forming part of the pattern. But Za-Koenji Public Theatre form is more modest. Another and last particularity is the skins that have been perforated with small glass circle, a strategy that permits light to penetrate the building — light is one of Tokyo major problems due to high density of its urban fabric, legislation and regulation of construction, in Japanese cities, require, therefore, a rate sufficient of light for houses and buildings.
I am planning to go to Tokyo for a research that concerns the urban design of its residential and commersidential areas, specially the residential and commersidential tiny plots and buildings. I will go to visit Za-Koenji Public Theatre site. Sounds exciting.
Source : Julian Worrall, "A Sculptured Chunk", in Icon Magazine, August 2009.
Pictures are from Coolboom website : http://coolboom.net/architecture/za-koenji-public-theatre-by-toyo-ito/