a+u Architecture and Urbanism 21:08_611

a+u - Architecture and Urbanism - is a monthly architectural magazine established in 1971. Since its inaugural issue, a+u has been widely celebrated by architects everywhere as Japan's only monthly periodical that provides in-depth reporting of architecture worldwide. Each issue is edited from a unique perspective, with essays penned by renowned architects, critics, and historians to guide the direction of tomorrow’s architecture, within and beyond Japan. Text is bilingual in English and Japanese. 1971年1月創刊。創刊以来、海外の建築情報を伝える日本唯一の月刊誌として、広く建築界に親しまれています。a+uの取材ネットワークは全世界に及び、100余カ国を網羅しています。これら各国の建築家を直接取材し、毎号独自の視点で編集することにより、生の動向をいち早く読者の皆様にお届けしています。また、建築家・評論家・歴史家による書き下ろし論文を掲載し、明日の建築のあり方を考える指針として国内外の建築界に多大な影響を与えています。

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12 期号


feature: nenia project smiljan radić

This August issue of a+u features the work of Chilean architect Smiljan Radić. The monograph opens with Nenia Project – a memoir by Radić – divulging to us the amazing imaginaries, visions of the past and future, that drive his architectural desires. Nenia Project is a collection of metaphorical manifestos and Radical Architecture artifacts that have equipped Radić with “subversive artistic strategies” and “scores for object-based works.” On these pages we discover the mysteries behind Radić’s “conceptual approach in his own buildings,” as described in an essay by Fredi Fischli and Niels Olsen. Perhaps, as Ryue Nishizawa conjectures in his essay, Radić’s “designs are poetic because they exist in, or aim for, a state of freedom from meaning.” Twenty-five key projects ranging from sculptures to buildings, all produced between 2010…

nenia project

1 As we know, a nenia is an elegiac poetic composition from ancient Rome that was sung at a person’s funeral. The praises of the deceased were expressed in the nenia and sung in a mournful voice to the sound of the flutes by relatives of the deceased or by a woman called a prafica, hired for the occasion. Nenia deals with laments, stories, absence, a monotonous tone, and memories. 2 The Nenia Project is a (late) composition about the presence of some projects and their internal relationship. It is not about clarifying the projects’ roots, but rather intertwining them into a common thread that will be illustrated – as in a children’s story – from some technical drawings, several photographs of the finished buildings, and a series of residual images. They appear…

house for the poem of the right angle / garden of leaves

8 If you look carefully at the built volume of House for the Poem of the Right Angle, you will notice that it leans ever so slightly downhill. It tries to inflict the least possible damage: it barely misses the existing trees (figs. 12, 22) and surrounds itself with more than 200 previously placed random basalt rocks that are part of Garden of Leaves. Its blind presence tries to show that its inhabitants are natives, and as such, naturally know their whereabouts, same as if they were a muleteer, a homeless person, or a monk (figs. 13–14). For their part, the basalt rocks, which were brought from a quarry about 2 km away, try to support (and hold) the ground upon which the house is built. The rocks are objects destined to…

santiago telecommunications tower

11 Tracing along David Hockney’s etchings, we built various artifacts. The Boy Hidden in a Fish (figs. 35, 37), The Boy Hidden in an Egg (figs. 36, 38), and Fragile, A Tower of Wine Glasses. All of these works, together with The Selfish Giant’s Castle (figs. 39–40), Gryphon (figs. 41–42), Kewpie My First Tower (fig. 43), Death at Home (fig. 46), and Inflated Bodies (figs. 44–45, 47) create a sort of bestiary that has (sporadically) deviated some of the architectural work in my studio. Strictly speaking, a bestiary, or medieval bestiary, is a compilation of fabulous animals. In this publication, a bestiary is an organization (a family) of a series of condensations. A “condensation,” according to Sigmund Freud, is a single image that on its own represents various associative chains, and where…


13 For example, The Selfish Giant’s Castle, built in 2009 in papiermâché, was a far-sighted reference to Folly, Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, which was designed and built 5 years later. We all know the story of the tired selfish giant returning to his castle after being away for 7 years, to find it invaded by children. He yells, hangs a deterring sign in the entrance, and frightens away the playful screams. Revenge for his cruelty comes by way of eternal winter over his garden, and nature has its way with him until he relents, forcing him to let the childish shouting back into his quiet and endearing refuge (figs. 48–51). The Selfish Giant’s Castle was projected as the image-matter for that tale. It was never thought of as a scale model or representation…

folly, serpentine gallery pavilion

14 The Selfish Giant’s Castle in papier-mâché went from being image-matter for a narrative to scale reference for a real construction project. This shift always produces a certain tension that is eventually resolved through the architectural project. To eliminate this tension (the change in purpose of the image) means to design a distance (figs. 52–53). In these types of projects the nonlinear game resides in just how far away or how close I am to that reference (figs. 54–55). 15 The fragility and texture of the papier-mâché in the reference was emulated in Folly, Serpentine Gallery Pavilion through the crude use of fiberglass (fig. 60). This material, together with the change in scale, and the idea of (to) ruin, and fictional structural requirements (such as the stones in the foundations), created a romantic…