Material Reaction

This weeks Hitoshi Abe lectured on his design process as an architect specifically how he think about and applies materials in his designs. In his lecture Hitoshi was very sincere and honest about the way he treated his design. He even went so far as to say that he didn’t know what the final out come would really look like, or if it would function the way he had intended. Hitoshi’s process is more a reaction to the material itself letting the constraints and limitation inform the design more than imposing a rigid form onto them. An example of this can be seen in Hitoshi’s Reihoku community hall built in Reihoku Kumamoto prefecture, Japan in 2002. This is a curving wooden framed structure that allows the spans of wood and the connection hardware to inform the overall form of the building. Hitoshi believes that “geometry is the thing that ties the site and materials together”. In this way the form of the building, the site, and the materials are all interacting and influencing one another. In the windows of the community center the placement is dependent on the width of the openings, and the height is dependent on the window material ability to bend to the opening. In this way Hitoshi is not drawing a rigid plan that a builder will follow to the letter, he is engaged and responding to the constraints and needs of the material letting them inform the overall form of the building.

hitoshi ABE

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One comment

  1. holme408

    I found this blog to be very interesting. I am intrigued with the idea of listening to the material and designing based on the way the material reacts. I feel as though this process produces the best works. There is beauty in these designs that is effortless, rather than forced, and it is noticeable when looking at such structures.

    I feel as though design should really start heading in this direction; especially at a time when new and innovative materials are constantly appearing. If designers used this approach of listening to the material and paying attention to how it reacts, then basing their designs off of these reactions would create a much more diverse array of structures. A problem in design is that sometimes ideas are already preconceived, sometimes without noticing. For instance, when designing a house, it is a preconceived notion that there should be a door in the front. However, if design were based on the reaction of the material, there would be more diversity and freedom in the design. Maybe at door that would have been in the front can be placed on the side or in the back. This is something that interests me because I feel that designers should always take material into consideration. Different materials call for different needs and should also call for different designs.

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