CHENNAI: Next to a set of futuristic steel-and-glass skyscapers is a warm wooden contemporary low-rise building against a sunset, beside which again appear technology-driven buildings, housing Prada and Louis Vuitton. Japanese architecture, with its combination of new and traditional, is reflective of the changing ethos of the cities of our time.
‘Parallel Nippon’, an exhibition put together by the Japan Foundation and the Consul General of Japan in collaboration with the School of Architecture and Planning at Anna University, features the evolution of Japanese architecture in the decade between 1996 and 2006, and prominent names of the profession like Tadao Ando, Kenzo Tange, Toyo Ito and SANAA. Ranging from airport terminals and transport hubs to schools and even small minimalistic private residences, the exhibition was put together with the idea that architecture is a composite activity that straddles culture, technology and economics. Taking four thematic settings of City, Life, Culture and Dwelling, the different realities of Japan are brought out — the modernist sprawl of the city, glitzy foreign brands, the taking over by private enterprise, and parallel attempts that continue to recover lost heritage.
“We have not forgotten our past, in architecture too, and even though there is modernity we try to have least confrontation with the elements and establish harmony,” says Masanori Nakano, the Consul General.
Japanese architects are strongly appreciated all over the world, and the Pritzker, the most prestigious prize in architecture, was won by several architects, the latest being Shigeru Ban in 2014.
The exhibition will be on until November 1, Anna University.