Japanese Architecture Returns to Nature: Sou Fujimoto in Context | The Plan Journal

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Botond Bognar

We received and we gladly publish a contribution by distinguished author Prof. Botond Bognar. [MS]


ABSTRACT - The essay introduces the development of Sou Fujimoto’s architecture as it has been influenced by various sources and experiences leading to his recently completed and highly recognized major project, the  House of Hungarian Music in Budapest. Among these influences the contemporary economic and political conditions in Japan and beyond, as well as the nature-inspired work of prominent Japanese designers are discussed. Touching upon the seminal work by Tadao Ando and Toyo Ito, the essay also highlights the contrasts and occasional similarities between the so-called “White School” and “Red School” in contemporary Japanese architecture, in referencing nature as the primary source of their designs. Today, these “schools” are best represented, respectively, by the activities of SANAA and Kengo Kuma. Although Fujimoto’s architecture is clearly derivative and part of the radically minimalist White School, the House of Hungarian Music reveals an intimacy and richness 

in articulating its relationship to the surrounding natural environment, which quality, if perhaps momentarily, points beyond the minimalism of the “Whites.”