CLADmag issue4 2018

Page 50

PROFILE: TOSHIKO MORI

PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE CENTER FOR MAINE CONTEMPORARY ART

The Center for Maine Contemporary Art

At Cooper Union, Mori’s thesis was called Places of Transaction, which examined the typology of markets. That continued to influence her approach to design. She wasn’t interested in formalism, or designing high-rises; “I got that out of my system” when she worked for the big firms, she says. Instead, she wanted to create places that brought people together. “I always think of a project, what kind of value does it offer?” she says. Though markets are places of commercial transactions, they also promote social cohesion by enabling other kinds of exchanges – namely a space for a community to express itself. Mori says that considering that kind of social impact should be an integral part of any project. She points to a value shared by many Indigenous cultures in North America: “Every single decision you make, you should think seven generations ahead,” she says. Her process reflects that commitment. Even as architecture becomes increasingly digital, Mori continues to draw by hand. “[It creates] an immediate relationship between human beings,” she says in the video for Time-Space-Existence. “When I go to the world, 90 percent of places don’t have computers. So, to be able to interact with people, you have to draw. And then people can draw back. It’s still a universal language. Even if you are good with computers, if you really don’t know how to draw by hand you really don’t know what you’re looking at.” “Architecture is a product of a dialogue,” Mori continues. “There are two qualities necessary for good dialogue – listening and observation.” When she was working on the visitor centre of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Darwin D. Martin House in Buffalo, New York, Mori

When she was commissioned to design a new home for the Center for Maine Contemporary

Galleries and educational

Art in the seaside town of

spaces wrap around a

Rockland, Maine, Mori noticed

central courtyard — “like an

the contrast between the red

open embrace,” according to

brick commercial buildings of

the museum’s promotional

the town centre and the more

material — with a façade

utilitarian industrial architecture

made of corrugated metal

of its waterfront. She decided

and glass that is at once

to pay homage to the latter

understated and expressive.

through a structure made of

“It’s a museum but it’s not an

glass and corrugated metal.

ivory tower,” says Mori. “It’s embedded in the community.”

PHOTO COURTESY OF TOSHIKO MORI ARCHITECT

The museum opened in 2016.

The Newspaper Cafe in Jinhua Architecture Park, China

The design for the Center for Maine Contemporary Art uses glass and corrugated metal

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CLAD mag 2018 ISSUE 4