Earlier this summer, Archi-Depot opened within Tokyo’s Shinagawa district, a warehouse museum dedicated to the storage and display of Japanese architectural models. Created by the company Warehouse TERRADA (previously), the cavernous space houses rows and rows of dramatically-lit miniature designs, many of which serve as the tiny precursors to some of the city’s top attractions such as the Tokyo Skytree, Tokyo International Airport, and the Asakusa Culture and Tourism Center.
Each of the models stacked within the museum’s 17-foot-tall interior contain a QR code, a feature that provides quick access to further information about the architectural works. Digital details include blueprints, photographs of the finalized building or structure, and examples of other projects the head architect has completed during their career. One architect in particular, Kengo Kuma, has been selected to design the 2020 World Olympics stadium. Although this project is still within its planning stages, a few of his completed projects’ models are stored within the museum. These works include the China Academy of Arts’ Folk Art Museum and the Asakusa cultural center mentioned above. Other architects included in the museum’s collection are Jun Aoki, Shigeru Ban, Wonderwall, Torafu, and many more as the collection is continuously expanding.
In addition to this growing permanent display, Archi-Depot also hosts rotating exhibitions of newer models or more conceptual pieces in its exhibition area. Currently the museum has an exhibition of works by Japanese architecture firm Wonderwall that will be on display through the end of the year. Last month we had a chance to visit the museum, and were blown away by the immense detail put into each of the tiny pieces, especially considering they are often stored away from the public eye. You can have a chance to browse the collection by either visiting the museum Tuesday through Sunday from 11 AM to 9 PM, or visit digitally on their website and Instagram.
All photos by Koji Fujii for Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP
Architect Hiroshi Nakamura had always been intrigued by how some crows utilize found coat hangers as a structural element in their nests. With this idea in mind, a unique opportunity presented itself when treehouse builder Takashi Kobayashi contacted him with an unusual site for a tearoom: 10 meters above the ground in a 300-year-old cinnamomum camphora tree growing precariously on the side of a mountain that overlooks the ocean in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. Using the coat hangers as a starting point he designed the Bird’s Nest Atami Tearoom using a variety of minimally invasive construction techniques meant to protect the integrity of the tree.
“Hangers are not only durable but also highly elastic, and they offer more hooks to connect than branches and hence are easier to assemble,” he shares. “Crows, flying deftly across the dichotomy of natural and artificial, are creating a functional and comfortable environment.” Thus the tearoom became a lightweight scaffold-type structure that works in harmony with the trees branches instead of being directly anchored to it. From Nakamura’s notes on the project:
For the foundation, we carefully inserted pier type foundations between the roots in order to avoid the use of concrete and large-scale excavation. Using the structure itself as scaffolding, we assembled it by avoiding the branches as birds create their nest, adding or taking out components based on structural analysis. We mortared the room interior to be like a swallow’s nest. The design leaves open the possibility for visitors to experience nest building by picking up branches from the mountain side and fitting them into walls inside.
The tearoom is part of the KAI Atami resort, and you can see more views both inside and out on the Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP website. Please take me with you. (via ARCHatlas)
The Festival des Arcitectures Vives in Montpellier, France grants access to the courtyards of private hotels and other buildings typically restricted to the general public, filling these outdoor areas with installations that reflect the architecture that surrounds the temporary artworks. For the 2016 festival, the French collaborative duo Michaël Martins Afonso and Caroline Escaffre-Faure brought architecture’s universal backdrop down to eye level, floating several large clouds throughout one of the selected courtyards.
The project, which they have titled “Head in the Clouds,” provides a relaxing dreamland away from the bustling city, inviting attendees to sit or stand within the fluffy orbs. Although the symbolism of the piece is direct, the installation does provide a meditative area for those to take a step back and think, dream, or scheme amongst the hovering works.
You can see more images from this installation and the rest of the festival on the Festival des Architectures Vives’ Instagram. (via Designboom)
Artist Rosa de Jong continues to explore the spacious confines of glass test tubes by erecting impossibly small buildings, trees, and other inhabitable structures inside of them. For her series titled Micro Matter the Amsterdam-based artist uses traditional model-making materials and her own handcrafted structures that she suspends inside scientific instruments. You can see some of her latest sculptures on Behance, and she may eventually start selling some of her pieces online, so be sure to signup for an alert.
Built in Buenos Aires as a performing arts theater in 1919, El Ateneo Grand Splendid's content has undergone several revisions, with its current purpose being a 21,000 square foot bookstore. Despite the switching of functions, the architecture has remained true to the early 20th century vision of Peró and Torres Armengol, the building still boasting ornate frescoed ceilings and detailed trimmings that line the ceiling, handrails, and walls.
The stage and balcony seating is also intact, the spaces now used as reading areas where guests can peruse the store’s many books in front of thick velvet curtains. These attributes were almost destroyed in 2000 when the building was slated for demolition, however before the historic theater could be taken away it was leased to Grupo Ilhsa who built out the bookstore. Now over 1,000,000 people walk through Al Ateneo Grand Splendid’s doors annually keeping the tiered theater very much alive. If you liked this, also check out the Waanders in de Broeren bookstore built inside a cathedral. (via Twisted Sifter)
Since 1963, a man named Justo Gallego has dedicated his life to building a cathedral on the outskirts of Madrid almost entirely by himself. Despite the lack of any formal training in construction or architecture, Gallego has continued work on the giant church into his 90s and works on it even today. Driven solely by his faith, he admits the project will never be finished in his lifetime and he has yet to make plans for what happens after he dies. Great Big Story gives us a quick glimpse of this unusual man and his towering cathedral.