in the air…
Yesterday’s post was a piece from the 12th Venice Architecture Biennale. SANAA invited the film director Wim Wenders to do a short video.
As a follow up, and continuation, the installation ”Architecture as Air” by Junya Ishigami is a manifesto to inhabit. Junya Ishigami worked for SANAA from 2000-2004. The project received the Golden Lion award for best project at the Biennale.
The “essence of Architecture” is a Pedagogical approach in Japan. This approach is embodied by vision & emotion. The ”Architecture as Air” is a re-interpretation of the 1912 Kroller-Muller house by Mies Van der Rohe…without the canvas. Both projects, nearly a century apart, have the same lasting power. BUT, imagine what would the “Architecture as Air” be, without the existing building as its’ canvas? Also, the “Architecture as Air” learned one of Mies’s best lesson…in a project, always look for what can be taken out. Junya Ishigami’s subtraction is potentially his biggest design move. The “essence of Architecture” is invisible for a reason…it has history. Please read the text below the image for a historical connection.
below is Jonathan Glancey’s text drawing a wonderful connection between the “Architecture as Air” project and Calvino’s Invisible Cities.
Inside the massive Corderie, the old ropeworks buildings of the Arsenale – where one half of the sprawling biennial exhibition is on show – a team of Japanese architects was busy building a house that was barely there.
They were, they said, “thinking of architecture in the air”, whereby “even the structures that give a building its very shape may no longer be clear but, rather, voidlike”. As the house Junya Ishigami and his colleagues were building is made of what appears to be the finest steel threads. Design drawings of the house on the walls of the ropeworks were so fine as to be all but impossible to interpret. It was as if these diligent architects were building one of Italo Calvino’s invisible cities, shaping a structure that might or might not be real.
The fantastical cities which Calvino imagined in Invisible Cities were a homage to Venice itself; the least likely of all cities, fictional or real. Ishigami’s installation, Architecture as Air, is a riposte to the idea of building ourselves into a cell of our own making. The house has precise measurements – 14 x 4 x 4 metres (about 46 feet by 13 feet) – as if it might be built for real, and it has a structure comprising columns, beams and bracing.