Akihisa Hirata: Tangling

15 September - 1 December 2012

  • Courtesy Daniel Hewitt (danielhewitt.com)
  • Exhibition render, courtesy Akihisa Hirata Architecture Office
  • Courtesy Daniel Hewitt (danielhewitt.com)
  • Courtesy Daniel Hewitt (danielhewitt.com)
  • Courtesy Daniel Hewitt (danielhewitt.com)
  • Courtesy Daniel Hewitt (danielhewitt.com)
  • Courtesy Yukata Endo / Luftzug Co. Ltd

For his first ever international solo show, emerging Japanese architect Akihisa Hirata exhibited an immersive 1:1 scale installation – a contorted loop – that distilled his architecture’s essence into a large-scale experiential structure. Over a hundred study models and conceptual sketches were presented on and within the structure, as well as an interview with the architect and intimate films of his projects, illustrating Hirata’s view of architecture and ecology, form and function, as a complex, interwoven ‘tangle’.

The exhibition opened shortly after Hirata's receipt of the Golden Lion award at the 13th Venice Architecture Biennale for his contribution, with Kumiko Inui, Sou Fujimoto and Naoya Hatakeyama, to the Japanese Pavilion, curated by Toyo Ito.

A social order which is premised on the independence of the individual and whose primary pursuit is the maximization of individual freedom must change in light of the simple reality that the individual is part of a 'tangled order.' And the same can probably also be said of rationality in architecture.
- Akihisa Hirata

- Film by Yutaka Endo and Takashi Kurokawa, Luftzug Co. Ltd

Interested in creating simple, elegant and essential geometric solutions that emulate and abstract nature's millions of years of experience - pitched roofs that mimic mountain ranges, housing clusters that echo trees - Hirata rigorously explores future possibilities for architecture and structure; to make more complex our understanding of the relationship between the natural and the artificial, and to increase architecture's capacity to aid living and freedom, beyond Modernism and the 20th Century's dated fixation with iconic shapes and open-plan spaces.

At a point in which architecture and society more broadly was seriously questioning its future, purpose and relationship to the natural world, the exhibition offered an in-depth exploration of Hirata's ideas, demonstrating his innovative formal approach and distinctive interpretation of the relationship between architecture and environment. 

Curatorial Team:
Naomi Shibata
guest co-curator
Sarah Ichioka, AF Director
Justin Jaeckle, AF Curator Public Programmes
Zofia Trafas, AF Exhibition Coordinator

Download exhibition press release here

Sponsored by

Pauian ArchilandJUT Foundation for Arts and Architecture and Panasonic Corporation.

Supported by

The Japan Foundation, the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation and the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts.

Structural Engineers: 

With additional sponsorship from:
Elmes Inc. (UNION Corporation, Japan), Okamura Corporation, Shelter Co. Ltd., Tajima Roofing Inc., and A&A Co. Ltd.

In kind sponsorship from:
Canon Inc., Nippon Electric Glass Co. Ltd., and Whitelight.Ltd

Travel between Tokyo and London supported by All Nippon Airways Co Ltd.

European travel courtesy of Eurostar 

With thanks to: 
Embassy of Japan in the UK, Japan Institute of Architects; Ryo, Sakura, Gen and Ran Sugiura (Coil film); Keinichiro and Ken Ishizuka (Masuya film); Museum of Contemporaru Art Tokyo, Kazuhiko Yoshizaki, Hiroko Kato and Kumiko Ohara (Bloomberg Pavilion film); Miyako Nishinakagawa; Akinobu Yoshikawa; Kenopsha Co. Ltd; Keika Sato, Yuko Tonogi, Ryozo Arai, Ayami Takada and Kentaro Yamada (akihisa hirata architecture office).

Video installation design: Yutaka Endo, Luftzug Co. Ltd
Filmmaking: Takashi Kurokawa
Interview film: Maris Mezulis