IIA Atelier taking on the challenge of creating new architecture

A conversation with Yoshiko Sato gives us some insights into the story behind their project Time Capsule, showcased in Time Space Existence.

While travelling back and forth between Japan and China, architects Jiahao Ruan and Yoshiko Sato created IIA Atelier: a renowned international architecture and design firm based in Tokyo, Japan, that adds strategic, meaningful and concept value to architectural designs.

With their project in Shenyang, China, IIA Atelier entered into a developer’s mind from the basic concept stage and worked up to the basic design. With each activity, they steadily improve the quality of their projects by intaking opinions from consultants and design teams, in collaboration with individual designers. In addition to the main design activities, they approach the project guidelines by coordinating all movements.

A conversation with Yoshiko Sato gives us some insights into the story behind their project Time Capsule.

The title of IIA Atelier’s project for the 2021 Time Space Existence exhibition, “Time capsule”, shows a strong connection, particularly with the notion of time. Could you tell us more about the concept behind this project?

For the theme of Time, Space and Existence, I thought of a media that can store memories that people have kept inside themselves and that could be shared in the event.

The design of the venue is composed of several materials that are created in this place through trial and error while thinking about the changing daily life and things.

Your project is located on the second floor of Palazzo Bembo, with a wonderful view of Venice’s Grand Canal. How does the installation interact with the concept of space and in general with the city of Venice?

While I was reading Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, I was fascinated by the fragmented images of Venetian cities and the conversations between Kahn and Marco Polo. During my stay, summer was ending, autumn turned into winter and the city gradually prepared for the next year.

Living in this place gave us the feeling of everyday life, which is different from sightseeing. In the words of the citizens, “we are fighting against water”. They said that this masonry and building construction method has an important meaning.

To be able to hear these opinions directly from the audience was a great opportunity for me to learn more about the elements of Venice. The venue was composed of materials to form a shape. I memorized the symbolism of the gondola and painted it on the wall.

Photo credits: Clelia Cadamuro

You spent a few months in Venice. Why this decision? And how would you describe this period and the effects it had on the essence of your project?

We wanted to communicate with people. During the Coronavirus pandemic, there were few opportunities for physical communication with others, and the function of the architecture should be fulfilled at this site. I thought of this concept of space.

The glass pavilion affects the walls on all sides during the prototyping stage. The structural problem went well from delivery to assembly, but there is a problem with the main function of the exhibition.

In order to incorporate this environment, we set up obstacles that could be felt in the actual space and harmonized with the overall space. We were able to create an environment in which the other artworks were able to reflect through the glass tubes.

The daily communication with visitors over several months builds up memories that this space contains. It is an event that can only happen at that time and we realized that it is possible to perceive and resonate with such a presence in our daily lives.

Facing myself, interacting with others, and having an event that expands my perceptual field. I believe that it was at this site that I was able to grasp the meaning of engaging in this work with even greater pride in the architectural mindset that supports the courage, will, and determination to take on the challenges of creating architecture.

Photo credits: Clelia Cadamuro

Lastly, how do you believe the pandemic affected our perception of time and space? And is this reflected also in your project?

Time and space are captured by individual perception. What is the psychological function and what do we create architecture for?

I asked myself about the significance of building this place and tried to use the materials that I memorized to think about the future based on the recognition of its history.

We would like to use this mindset in our future designs. From the scale of the city to its products and the fact that we live on the surface of the earth’s motion, we want to capture and visualize our perception of the minute of invisible things and the state of things in the art of spatial composition called architecture.

If we think positively about this situation, it means spending precious time with people and the environment, and being physically exposed to the movement of the sun and weather. Rather than dancing around our fears, we can enjoy and embrace them in the midst of it. If we can learn to do this, we can preserve the basic human life of everyday living. We don’t have to fear the unknown if we can find a way to grasp the truth, rather than the privilege of the well-informed.

I would like to advance architectural design in such a different place each time and confidently propose the future social aspects of architectural planning.

IIA Atelier taking on the challenge of creating new architecture

A conversation with Yoshiko Sato gives us some insights into the story behind their project Time Capsule, showcased in Time Space Existence.

  • Published: 26.04.2022
  • Category: Conversation
  • Subject: Participants
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