CLADmag issue4 2018

Page 45


The arches were designed to create the sense that the scenery fl ows through the library

building. Architecture should reflect this, whether it is through creating natural shapes, forms, materials or spatial systems. “When I start a project now, I may dream of a forest clearing, a silent pool of water or a flowing river,” he continues. “This inspires me to design an image, and from there I work out the best way to realise this vision.” Subtle natural references can be found throughout his work. Take the Matsumoto Performing Arts Center, completed four years after the forest-like Sendai Mediatheque. Ito’s biomorphic design features gently curving walls punctuated by randomly placed holes. When daylight enters, it forms patterns on the floor like sunshine through a woodland clearing, or reflections on a sea bed. Meanwhile, his recent ‘Minna no Mori’ Gifu Media Cosmos – a vast library and cultural facility in the Japanese city of Gifu – boasts 11 giant globes suspended from the roof. These define the building’s different zones for reading, resting and study, but also enhance air flow and allow filtered natural light

CLAD mag 2018 ISSUE 4

to enter. “I thought about how one of the library’s users might feel if they were sat beneath a tree canopy, reading a book, enjoying a cool breeze,” says Ito. “I have one dream with my work. Architecture should equal nature.” Next up for Ito are a range of projects which include a business school for the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, which is set to become the largest wooden building in Asia when it is completed in 2021. At the other end of the scale, Ito hopes to return to Omishima. “Over the next few years, I’d like to live half my life over on the island,” he says. “I like to drink sake, and I’ve built a very small winery there. Last autumn we produced our first wine and this year maybe there will be 1,000 bottles. One day I would like to design a hotel where guests can relax and enjoy the wine.” Surely we couldn’t be about to lose one of our most well-regarded architects to the world of hospitality? Ito laughs, and shakes his head firmly. “No, no. I have no plans to retire. There is still much for me to do.” ●