Page 14 - MODUS NEWS 02
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Kanagawa Institute of Technology (KAIT) is located in the city of Atsugi, located approximately 50 kilometers southwest of Tokyo. It’s known both as a “campus city” because of its eight universities, as well as a “techno city” because it includes the main offices and research centers of companies like Canon, Nissan, and Sony. With 5 000 students in engineering, engineering creativity, applied bio-science, and information technology, KAIT now also features a new facility for students to visit whenever they want—the KAIT Workshop.
Junya Ishigami
Born in Kanagawa, Japan in 1974, Junya Ishigami later earned his master’s of fine arts in architecture from the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. After earning his degree in 2000, he spent the next four years at Kazuyo Sejima & Associates, before establishing junya.ishigami+associates in 2004. Five years later, he was a lecturer at the Tokyo University of Science, and in 2010, he was an associate professor at the Tohoku University. That same year, this award-winning architect received a Lion Award at the Leone d’oro International Architecture Exhibition at La Biennale di Venezia.
Completed in 2008, following a three-year design process, the
2 000-square-meter building extends five meters high, and merges the exterior and interior. As a matter of fact, using Google’s Street View, one can enter the building as if it’s part of the campus’ outdoors. KAIT Workshop’s glass, translucent façade reflects the trees outside. Inside the building,
the white structure interacts with the trees planted indoors that spread
in space, creating a continuous view between the interior and exterior space. The carefully designed façade—with its strict order—contrasts
with the organic appearance of the interior space, “seeking ambiguity in architecture,” as Ishigami describes this project.
As in nature, where no tree is equal to another, none of the building’s 305 columns are identical in cross section, shape, or angle. Subtle differences in the shape of the columns are defined by their structural purpose and the role of the spaces they create. Groups of columns ambiguously divide the area to create 12 different spaces, which can be changed as the space needs of its inhabitants fluctuate. Columns play two distinct structural roles, with some bearing vertical forces and others bearing horizontal forces. With no walls, no defined corridors, and no apparent rules, columns are arranged within the interior space like trees placed on a landscape, resulting in a comfortable space that emulates a forest.
Ishigami’s work reflects a new thinking of ambiguity in architecture
with a new comfort in the relation of the natural and the constructed environments. “In the KAIT Workshop, many spaces overlap to make one space—a road for cars to pass, the workshop, offices, print shop, an entrance, and so on,” he says. “Various types of spaces are planned, but the boundaries between these spaces are fuzzy and ambiguous. With this ambiguity, we
are trying to create a new flexibility of design through all projects. I aim to expose a new environment that we can only see through architecture.”

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