Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Archiprix International 2009 recently announced the winners of the world’s best architecture, urban design, and landscape architecture graduation projects in Montevideo, Uruguay.
The international jury reviewed 218 submissions from 66 countries, nominated 24 finalists, and selected 8 winners. The jury comprised Salvador Schelotto (Dean farq, UdelaR, Uruguay), Mario Schjetnan (Mexico), Anne Lacaton (France), Juan Herreros (Spain), Sou Fujimoto (Japan).

Below one of my favourite among the winning designs: Stacking pencil buildings by using MAby Ryo Kitazawa.

"In Tokyo, the relationships of urban buildings are complex and various. I surveyed them with a view to slotting them into a new building system. Through my research, I found particular space, which I called ‘urban MA’, between slender buildings in Tokyo. Such buildings are called ‘pencil buildings’ in Japan: middle-rise buildings with maximum volume on a small footprint, built in high-density areas. ‘Urban MA’ gives us a sense of proper distance and generates interaction between us. ‘MA’ is a concept peculiar to Japan, based on the refined sensitivity of the Japanese. It is different from ‘void’ or ‘empty’. Taking the research results, I concluded that the essential elements of ‘urban MA’ are the openings on the dense façade. I propose MArchitecture, instead of Architecture, by means of the insertion of ‘urban MA’. By stacking the pencil buildings, ‘urban MA’, which had been two-dimensional, is transformed into a three-dimensional structure. And a multilayered window facing this place makes the area of perception and interaction more complex. The exterior space that connects pencil buildings is full of diverse ‘urban MA’. And this space will form communities to provide space for socializing. This will generate a wide range of activities and attract many people to the area. The interior enables people to sense the presence of others, yet help maintain an appropriate feeling of distance between one another at all the times by adjusting the layered openings. The circulation becomes much complicated on going through the pencil buildings, and enables the people to move around as if strolling about through a city. MArchitecture harmonizes with the finely honed sensitivity of the Japanese and uses it to its full extent. This prototype can be adapted to different building types."
passage and images from Bustler



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