Perhaps you've heard the saying, "Less is more." That expression has been used to describe minimalism, a trend in design and architecture in which the design subject is reduced to its necessary elements.
German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe first used it to describe his methodology, which consisted of arranging only the necessary components of a building to create an impression of extreme simplicity, but minimalist design has been highly influenced by Japanese traditional design and architecture.
This is the tradition from which Japanese Sou Fujimoto operates out of. There are those who say minimalism was developed in Japan out of necessity. Space in Japan is precious and greatly valued in their culture, so architecture there was developed to make the best use of it. Many of Fujimoto’s designs reflect this cultural value.
For example, his “House H,” a residential home in Tokyo, was designed with the city’s strict plot ration regulations. Its design avoided the space-wasting convention of courtyards and moved away from establishing the house as an isolated object within the boundaries of its property.
Fujimoto's Collective Housing Project, also in Tokyo, is another example of his Minimalist influence. When you first view it, this apartment design looks like a disorderly-arranged set of boxes on top
of each other. In actuality, access to each apartment is a great deal like climbing a mountain.
The housing project comprises five dwellings, and each unit comes with two-to-three independent rooms of unusual house shapes. The rooms on the different floors are connected to each other with stairs placed on the outside of the building. In many ways, this design represents Tokyo itself, with its connectedness in the midst of disconnection. It's also an offbeat, distinct way to design apartment buildings, while giving homage to minimalism and other historic Japanese architectural forms.
Fujimoto is a rising star in the Japanese architectural scene. His firm, Sou Fujimoto Architects, founded in 2000, is one of the newest design and architectural firms in Japan. Fujimoto is a 1994 graduate of the University of Tokyo and has lectured at Kyoto University since 2007.
In addition to residences, Fujimoto and his firm has also designed art museums and community centers. He has competed in some prestigious architectural competitions in Japan, all while making a
name for himself in Japanese architecture and design.
In his own words, this young man is interested in creating "crazy stuff." It seems that he's well on his way to doing just that. He's an architect the architectural field in Japan and throughout the
entire world should watch out for.
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