Toyo Ito: Home-for-All

Along with Shigeru Ban  and other famous Architects  there is growing concern for social projects her is an interview from domuswith Toyo Ito at the  Venice Architecture  Biennial

After the dreadful 3/11 Earthquake, some of Japan’s most renowned architects came together creating the kisyn-no-kai, a group includingRiken YamamotoHiroshi NaitoKengo KumaKazuyo Sejima and Toyo Ito. The architects talked with the affected people from Sendai, trying to find a way to help with the reconstruction of the city and to improve the community’s daily life. The result was the “Home-for-All” (Minna no Ie), a place where people could feel like at home, meet, relax and talk about the future of their city. The first “Home-for-All” was finished in Sendai last autumn: a small traditional timber structure that allows people to look to the future once again. Commonly the Venice Biennale has been a think-tank for architecture, a window for most inspiring practices abroad, but this edition has focused on showing many star-architects without giving too much room to fresh and innovative proposals. What are your thoughts on this?

Traditionally every architect must be rooted to a particular land or country, and that is something that could be enjoyed by the people, as it was supposed to create a common space. But the problem is that all of this has been lost over the last years and the past Biennales, because now you can go to Tokyo, Beijing, Hong Kong or Venice and you will see that architecture is just used as an instrument of economics, completely losing its original meaning. After the big earthquake in Japan we had to make a lot of sacrifices, many victims came out of that and so we went back to zero, we went back to the idea of architecture as a place to make people gather, a place that everybody can use. This is what we have done, restarting the city once again as it has happened so many times in our history. It is a way to make architecture that can be applicable all over the world, thinking architecture as a social tool, as a way of creating spaces to make people stay together. From my point of view, Chipperfield thought the Common Ground like this, as a ground for everybody, a ground on common, and our project is a reflection of this.

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Toyo Ito, curator of the Japan Pavilion at the 13th Venice Architecture Biennale. Photo by María Carmona. Above: Architecture. Possible here? Home-for-All installation view at the Japan Pavilion. Photo by Naoya Hatakeyama