CLADmag issue4 2018

Page 44

INTERVIEW: TOYO ITO

“I don’t see myself as a mentor, or even a teacher,” Ito insists. “I’m more interested in collaborating than teaching. I love to work alongside young architects so we can think about a project and the problems that need to be solved. Realising a building can be very hard, so in my studio we all share that hardship together.” With impeccable timing, Ito’s phone rings. It’s Kazuyo Sejima, who is also in Venice attending the Biennale and wants to see him. After the call, he admits he is “very happy and proud that so many architects brought up in my studio have been so successful.” A smile and a pause. “Even if I sometimes lose competitions to them.” The 2013 Pritzker

Architecture equals nature

jury described Ito as a “creator of timeless buildings”

The biggest change in my philosophy has been my understanding of nature

PHOTO: ISHIGURO PHOTOGRAPHIC INSTITUTE

I ask whether his approach to architecture has changed much since he designed his first building – the famous, now demolished, White U house – in 1976. “The biggest change in my philosophy has been my understanding of nature,” he replies. “In the beginning, this was not strong. Over the years, and as I have gained more experience, this has changed. It is now very important in my work. “In the 20th century, the concept of controlling nature through technology rapidly emerged. Japan followed Europe in this direction. In contemporary Tokyo there are more and more skyscrapers. There’s a big discrepancy between architecture and nature. I want this gap to narrow, because we shouldn’t be isolated from the environment. People are more at ease in nature than a

The Tama Art University Library features a series of slender arches

44 CLADGLOBAL.COM

CLAD mag 2018 ISSUE 4