Arata Isozaki: Unbuilt  
"A ruin is the future of our city and the future city is a ruin itself" warned the architect, Arata Isozaki, about Tokyo in the 1960s. For an exhibition of his work at Gallery Ma in Minami-Aoyama, Isozaki has dusted off old models and unrolled plans of ideas that never saw steel or concrete. This world-renowned architect also goes through the attic to find an archive of radical texts which are re-published for this exhibition in two volumes, in English and Japanese.

A large amount of other photographic support material makes this exhibition an interesting and handsome display for anyone interested in buildings, ideas and design. Utopian landscapes -- a city in the sky, an island mirage and a house in a bubble -- are constructions in the mind of architect Arata Isozaki.

Some of his ideas, because they were more advanced than the technology of their time, were unable to be realized. Others, such as his 1980 competition plans and models for Tokyo City Hall, a network of buildings incorporating the five platonic solids as well as hanging gardens, were not selected and therefore remained on the drawing board. Four decades of Isozaki's projects are presented. His thinking from the 1960s is traced from ideas for cities on tall-interconnected towers to a more current concept for an ever-changing island, described as a mirage of ideas.

Throughout his career Isozaki has based his design on philosophies bridging the spiritual and the aesthetic. The results are applauded around the world and include the Museum of Contemporary Arts in Los Angeles, the Ochanomizu Square Concert Hall, Tokyo, the Gunma Museum of Fine Arts and the Arts Complex in Mito.

This exhibition gives an important insight into the driving forces and fundamental underpinnings of the man behind the buildings. It is a strange juxtaposition, eclectic Tokyo at its best, that to visit this architectural exhibition you emerge from the Nogizaka subway station to be confronted with a wedding cake of a building, 'The Bridal House'. This gaudy landmark, is an ornately decorated white building with more turrets and damsels in gowns than any fairy tale.

The exhibition is in the Toto building, the cool, all-blue one just across the street. Visit the Toto bookshop on the second floor if your interest is architecture and design. Or browse the designer bathroom display on the lower level for some stylish porcelain.

 

 

through March 24 Gallery Ma Tel: 03.3402.1010 Toto Building, 3 F 1-24-3 Minami-Aoyama 11:00 19:00 Closed Sunday & Monday