May 25, 2017 - Power Station of Art - Toyo Ito: On the Stream
e-flux Architecture
May 25, 2017
May 25, 2017

Power Station of Art

Installation view of Toyo Ito: On the Stream at Power Station of Art. 

Toyo Ito
On the Stream
April 22–July 23, 2017

Power Station of Art
200 Huayuangang Rd
200011 Shanghai
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 11am–7pm

T +86 21 3110 8550

Power Station of Art (PSA) is proud to hold the first global retrospective for the Pritzker Prize winning Japanese architect Toyo Ito Toyo Ito: On the Stream. This exhibition includes all Toyo Ito & Associates, Architects’ key projects since its founding in 1971.

The exhibition title On the Stream gets its inspirations from an ancient Chinese tradition: the intellectuals drank liquor from cups that floated on a winding stream and stopped before them, shared their thoughts and raised their cups for celebrations. Similarly for Toyo Ito, his design career is just like constantly collecting water of thoughts from the ever-running stream of architectural innovations.

Echoing that title, a stream-like long table is placed in the center of the exhibition hall. Atop the table are more than 130 models from nearly 30 projects that Toyo Ito & Associates, Architects has undertaken. They are divided into six stages in chronological order, and each stage presents the most representative projects and their relevant models.

Six Stages

Stage I
The opening of the Osaka World Expo in the 1970s led to beautiful anticipations of mankind towards future cities. Japanese architects responded with Metabolism movement. Toyo Ito left the office of Kiyonori Kikutake, who was a leading figure of the Metabolism movement, and founded his own office Urban Robot (URBOT), mostly focusing on private house projects during its early years. The Aluminum House (1970-1971) was Ito’s first independently designed private house. Later under the influences of Kazuo Shinohara, Ito’s project  White U (1975-1976) was an enclosed residential project.

In the 1980s, Japan entered its era of bubble economy. Ito responded to the quick-changing Information Age and Consumption Age with lightweight, simple, transparent and abstract modern architectures, such as Silver Hut (1982-1984), restaurant bar “Nomad” (1985-1986), and Tower of Winds in Yokohama (1986).

Stage II
Towards the end of the 1980s, Toyo Ito & Associates, Architects’ projects were mostly public buildings in Japan, including museums, fire stations, theaters and stadium. Among them, the Sendai Mediatheque (1995-2000) became an important turning point for Ito’s design career. In this city-like building, 13 seaweed-like tubes were installed as support structure, allowing free conversations between people inside and the Nature. After this project, Ito proposed his design concept of “less pure beauty and more vitality and fun,” shifting from pure architecture of modernism to fluid architecture and focusing on natural forms, impure geometric structures as well as the relationship between the two.

Stage III
From 2000, Toyo Ito & Associates, Architects started to receive commissions for overseas projects. In works including Brugge Pavilion (2000–2002), Serpentine Gallery Pavilion (2002), and TOD’S Omotesando Building (2002–2004), Ito utilized digital technologies to design their three-dimensional curve façades, and transformed natural forms like beehive, tree and beech into architectural structures. Through their heterogeneous abstractness, these free spaces are expressed with much more possibilities.

Stage IV
From this stage, Ito’s architectural styles become more diverse. According to ideas of ecology building, his works emphasized on spatial fluidity. In his project Tama Art University Library (Hachioji campus) (2004-2007), he took the classical arch structure and developed brand-new spatial rules. While using the arch structure to divide spatial zones, he also had interior furniture like tables, chairs, bookshelves and lamp stands, to enhance connectivity.

Stage V
After the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, Toyo Ito started to contemplate on the origins of architecture, as well as its meaning to cities and their habitants as an architect. He initiated project “Home-for-All” in the disaster stricken area, providing geographical reconstruction and psychological relief to homeless victims. He invited other architects, structural engineers and victims to jointly conceive and construct buildings. Later, Ito brought project “Home-for-All” to Omishimain southern Japan, and also completed public buildings including Toyo Ito Museum of Architecture, Imabari (2006-2011) and Ken Iwata Mother and Child Museum, Imabari City (2009-2011) in the region. These projects gave the region new vitality, transforming Omishima into an island which is most beautiful and desirable to live in.

Stage VI
In recent years, Toyo Ito & Associates, Architects gradually undertook projects in China. In its latest project Ningbo Huamao International School Libraray (2015-ongoing), Ito adopted tree morphology as the building’s structure. According to Ito, Asian architecture used to have very close ties with the nature, but the rise of modern architecture has made the continent lose its local features.


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On the Stream
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