Japan’s Venice Biennale 2012 Pavilion
The Mayans were right all along that this is the beginning of the End. It is the end of stodgy, dead, stale, white-walled, superfluous, orthogonal architecture.
As a global society we have been confined to the rules, boundaries, boxes, standards, and canons of some self appointed all-knowing higher order … and I believe the end has finally arrived. Toyo Ito, Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Tadao Ando, Peter Zumthor, Bjark Ingels, and a host of other architects have taken an oath to destroy that accursed manual titled: How to be an Architect, and set out to create an entirely new world of thought. And of course the Next Age is being MADE IN JAPAN.
With his latest project Toyo Ito—who acted more as a guide than an “architect”—has helped orchestrate what this year’s Venice Biennale is calling its “Best Pavilion”. The best part is that it is neither a pavilion, nor a house, nor a structure but something between all of them. It hybridizes the needs of so many through one entity. And shouldn’t it? Shouldn’t architecture reflect and enhance the era in which it exists? It was Mr. Frank Gehry (who in my eyes fathered this movement) who said “I don’t want to be timeless; I want to be relevant”.
I grow weary of seeing structures and buildings that are so self-righteous that they bend the occupant to their will. But rest assured that a new age is upon us.
Riddled with disaster, both natural and unnatural, the lovely island of Japan has stood through the ages as something of an enigma—at least in my eyes. As a culture they have single-handedly lead, pioneered and/or re-written each chief era of contemporary society. From perfecting the structure of governments (see Shogun Society), to inspiring the Impressionist movement (see Japanese woodcuts), and giving Minimalist artists their start (see the Japanese Tea Ceremony) the Japanese have suffered harshly yet contributed greatly to the world. The key to their constant innovation is that they’ve had to adapt and rebuild their culture countless times without losing the essence of their Japan-ness, there was no book of laws and rules; they simply had to learn as they went, so it seems almost customary for them to truly perfect the Deconstruction Gehry began in the 1980’s. Ito and his pavilion are truly remarkable.
Though sometimes it may seem that we are running in circles, coming up short, or just plain lost; we must persevere. We are all leaning as we go. Enjoy!