Interview with Toyo Ito | The Plan
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Interview with Toyo Ito

Toyo Ito & Associates

Alessandra Orlandoni - At the beginning of your career, as happens to many architects, you worked on small projects - the White U house, the Tower of Winds. Then you gradually became occupied with more complex buildings.
Today you take in a whole range of scales, from the small object, like the projects for Alessi and Horm, to huge buildings like the Mahler 4 - Block 5 in Amsterdam and the extension at the Fira de Barcelona, Montjuic-2.
Technological issues have always been an integral part of your research, but after the Sendai Mediatheque, your work seems more “techno-organic”. There’s a continuity and fluidity about it, whatever the scale. How do you manage these different scales of project?
Toyo Ito - When I do a small scale project like objects or furnishing accessories, the jump from idea to prototype is almost immediate. Things don’t take shape gradually because my idea is immediately transferable to realty, thanks also to digital prototyping.
But an architectural project holds greater complexity. The initial concept develops through the contribution of several people. So the whole thing changes and transforms, undergoing a metamorphosis. This developmental process is very important in architecture.
After the Sendai Mediatheque, I realised I wanted to develop the concept of “blurring architecture”, and work on those impalpable, intangible elements of architecture, and the complexity of information that a physical building must contain.
A.O. - The Sendai Mediatheque marked a turning point in your project development method. How much have new technologies, and in particular, 3-D simulation facilities, influenced your approach to architecture and the ability to create innovative buildings where the structure itself is an integral part of architectural design?
T.I. - The great change has taken place over the last ten years. Before, you started with the ground plan and the...

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