The Olympians have always been the subject of interest all around the world. This year, Japan has added a little bit of spice to it, with the help of architecture and art. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture, and Watari Museum of Contemporary Art were the main bodies for organizing and planning this event.

A Series of Pavilions in Tokyo in Celebration of the Olympics created by Renowned Japanese Architects and Artists Sheet1
Global Bowl  Akihisa Hirata_ © ToLoLo studio

The installations and pavilions projects are the special part of the ‘Tokyo Tokyo Festival’. With Kengo Kuma’s creation, the ‘Japanese national stadium’ at the center point, the pavilions are placed around it within a 3 km radius. Luring the visitors to roam around the city. In a way, the city is used as a platform to showcase Japan’s creativity, culture, art and architecture. 

Terunobu Fujimori, Kazuyo Sejima, Sou Fujimoto, Junya Ishigami, Akihisa Hirata, Teppei Fujiwara, Makoto Aida, Yayoi Kusama, Daito Manabe + Rhizomatiks are the creators of the pavilions. Instead of installations to look at from afar, these pavilions invite people inside to interact. Each structure has a use and a concept connected to the deep-rooted culture of japan.

Cloud Pavilions

A Series of Pavilions in Tokyo in Celebration of the Olympics created by Renowned Japanese Architects and Artists Sheet2
Cloud pavilion by Sou Fujimoto _© Keizo Kioku

The White balloons peeking out through the green of trees is a Pavilion in Tokyo by Sou Fujimoto is a depiction of clouds. Sou Fujimoto looks at the cloud as a ‘big roof over the world’. As an entity that floats over everything on the earth. 

A Series of Pavilions in Tokyo in Celebration of the Olympics created by Renowned Japanese Architects and Artists Sheet3
Cloud pavilion by Sou Fujimoto _© Keizo Kioku

‘It has an exterior but doesn’t have walls, yet an inner space exists. Moreover, the three-dimensional inner space is extremely complex and dynamic. Clouds cannot be realized with architecture, yet they make us feel like there is something architectural to them.’ Sou Fujimoto

Hence, The fluffy-looking globs located atop three slender supports are a shade for passerby. A place to rest. “A place for everyone” is its concept. Both the structures, one at the Yoyogi Park and the other at Takanawa Gateway Station, also express diversity and tolerance.  

The street garden theatre

A Series of Pavilions in Tokyo in Celebration of the Olympics created by Renowned Japanese Architects and Artists Sheet4
The street garden theatre by Teppei Fujiwara_© ToLoLo studio

This Pavilion in Tokyo is a re-visit to the Gardening culture from the Edo era. The plants growing over the wooden framework create a place for people to interact, with plants as well as with each other and the culture of the city. It is “a theatre for plants and people” as described by its creator Teppei Fujiwara. 

Tokyo Castle

A Series of Pavilions in Tokyo in Celebration of the Olympics created by Renowned Japanese Architects and Artists Sheet5
Tokyo Castle (Makoto Aida)_©ToLoLo studio

The two cardboard structures by Makoto Aida represent temporariness. It is a criticism towards the permanence of the structures made today, using long-lasting materials which are also heavy and expensive. As opposed to that, cardboard is a lightweight, durable and cheap material. Material that complements the natural disaster history of japan. 

A Series of Pavilions in Tokyo in Celebration of the Olympics created by Renowned Japanese Architects and Artists Sheet6
The obliteration room by yayoi kusama_ keizo kioku

An interesting work based on a long-lasting theme of Yayoi Kusama. with the concept of ‘Self-obliteration’ the space is coloured in white. made to be covered in stickers by the visitors.

Global Bowl

A Series of Pavilions in Tokyo in Celebration of the Olympics created by Renowned Japanese Architects and Artists Sheet7
Global Bowl  Akihisa Hirata_ © ToLoLo studio

Akihisa Hirata’s Global Bowl is a metaphor for the Olympics. A melting pot containing a mixture of people from all over the world. The shape of the pot is a small-scale representation of the national stadium. The twisted look, intricate connections, and irregular openings are created by assembling geometric 3D wooden pieces. 

Kokage-gumo

A Series of Pavilions in Tokyo in Celebration of the Olympics created by Renowned Japanese Architects and Artists Sheet8
Kokage-gumo by Junya Ishigami_ © Shuji Goto

The design of this pavilion by Junya Ishigami was created to blend with the surrounding environment. The blend between fluid canopies and views of trees seen from the gaps creates a mystifying effect on the surrounding. The choice of carbonized jet-black wood as a material adds to that effect, giving off the feeling of old abandoned ruins. 

GO AN wooden tea house

A Series of Pavilions in Tokyo in Celebration of the Olympics created by Renowned Japanese Architects and Artists Sheet9
Tea House “Go-an” by Terunobu Fujimori_ © ToLoLo studio

The GO AN wooden tea house by Terunobu Fujimori is more than just a piece to view from outside. From the exterior, it looks like a lantern. The lower tempering area is covered in grass and the upper body is made of yakisugi, the charred cedar, But After entering through the hole in the face and climbing up the ladder-like stairs people are welcomed with entirely different scenery. The elevated tea room shows the direct views of the National Stadium. 

A Series of Pavilions in Tokyo in Celebration of the Olympics created by Renowned Japanese Architects and Artists Sheet10
Tea House “Go-an” by Terunobu Fujimori_ © ToLoLo studio

Suimei Pavilion

The pavilion in Tokyo, looking as if the sky is snaking around the grass landscape of the Hama-rikyu garden, is a creation of SAANA’s Kazuyo Sejyima. Inspired by the Japanese medieval gardens in contrast with the skyscrapers is in fact a depiction of modern society. The slow-flowing water represents time. 

A Series of Pavilions in Tokyo in Celebration of the Olympics created by Renowned Japanese Architects and Artists Sheet11
Suimei by Kazuyo Sejima © Kazuyo Sejima & Associates

“I thought about adding water into that scenery to depict modern society. The winding stream looks as if it is still when viewed from a distance. But when you look at it closely, you realize that it is flowing quietly. This slowly flowing water represents the connection between the past, present, and future.” Kazuyo Sejima

2020-2021 Artificial Intelligence installation

A Series of Pavilions in Tokyo in Celebration of the Olympics created by Renowned Japanese Architects and Artists Sheet12
Daito Manabe,  Rhizomatiks. Image © Keizo Kioku

In a reference to the complications of the pandemic, Daito Manabe and Rhizomatiks have created an Artificial Intelligence installation. The data regarding canceled events due to Covid-19 is continuously updated and shown in a form of text and images. 

The events started in Sept 2019. But due to the pandemic, the events from April to September were delayed and relaunched in July of 2021. The events will continue till 5 September 2021.

References 

ArchDaily. (2021). Renowned Japanese Architects and Artists Create A Series of Pavilions in Tokyo in Celebration of the Olympics. [online] Available at: https://www.archdaily.com/965902/renowned-japanese-architects-and-artists-create-a-series-of-pavilions-in-tokyo-in-celebration-of-the-olympics  [Accessed 5 Aug. 2021].

Magazine, W. (2021). Japanese architecture and the Olympics: pavilions pop up. [online] Wallpaper*. Available at: https://www.wallpaper.com/architecture/japanese-pavilions-celebrate-2021-tokyo-olympics.  [Accessed 5 Aug. 2021].

ArchiPanic. (2021). Pavilion Tokyo 2021 discover projects by Sejima, Fujimoto and more. [online] Available at: https://www.archipanic.com/pavilion-tokyo-2021/  [Accessed 5 Aug. 2021].

designboom | architecture & design magazine. (2021). kazuyo sejima’s curved water pavilion flows through Tokyo’s hama-rikyu gardens. [online] Available at: https://www.designboom.com/architecture/kazuyo-sejima-curved-water-pavilion-tokyo-hama-rikyu-gardens-07-14-2021/. [Accessed 5 Aug. 2021].

Author

Gargi is an Architect by degree and a tinker by heart. As a recent graduate, she is yet to find out what alley of architecture she would like to explore further in her life. Writing is a tool for her to analyze and discuss her exploration.

Write A Comment