Patterns & Layering

According to renowned Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, "this book aims to establish the interrelation between patterns and layering within architecture. These two previously detached notions can now be integrated into one methodology mediated by structural concepts. Patterns and Layering is the first book to introduce this new interrelationship, which has the potential to begin a new architectural and design revolution.” 


Ejust Bibliothèque

Ce projet s’inspire de l’outil traditionnel japonaise utilisé par les menuisiers pour enlever les clous à tête carré. La façade et le toit sont formés de panneaux de béton fibré GRC carrés constituant un motif élaboré d’ouverture de tailles différentes. Le motif sur le toit et les murs génère un jeu complexe d’ombre et de lumière dans tout l’espace. Les ouvertures sont soit recouvertes de verre ou laissées libres pour une ventilation naturelle. Les motifs servent de connexion entre l’intérieur et l’extérieur à travers une intégration paramétrique du contexte environnemental. Aussi appelé Manryoku - «puissance mille» - le motif donne la possibilité de gravir l’ascenseur social par effet de levier : pour les japonais la force peut venir d’origine humble et de petites situations.

Design team: Omar Rabie, Nahoko Yoshii, Salvator-John A. Liotta, Kaon Ko, Renato Adriasola, Yoshiya Kashima, Cristiano Lippa, Anna Braverman, Shoichi Murai, Yoko Ushioda. 
Pattern Diagrams: Rafael Alejandro Ayala Balboa

Omikuji Paper Forest

Cut into strips, Omikuji moves with wind, creating a placid image, yet full of movement. The project is a take on the perishable nature of Japanese paper. Upon first glance the structure appears highly irregular, though this is not the case with the original matrix: in fact, it is derived from a traditional Japanese pattern composed of a succession of waves. The design that “emerges” through a random population of strips attached on the supporting structure does not reveal the rule of composition; in reality, it conceals it. The project takes inspiration from the tradition of omikuji, strips of paper containing divine prophesies available at Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples in Japan. If the prophecy is good, the omikuji is taken home, but if it is bad, it is a custom to fold up the omikuji and attach it to a pine tree in the temple grounds.

Site: Italian Cultural Institute, Tokyo, Japan
Period: Sept. 25-Oct. 12, 2011
Curators: Kengo Kuma, Matteo Belfiore, and Salvator-John A. Liotta
Contributions from: Kuma Lab, coordinated by Ko Nakamura, and Yusuke Obuchi Lab, Digital Fabrication Lab, G30, University of Tokyo, Department of Architecture
Design and concept: Matteo Belfiore, Salvator-John A. Liotta
Fabrication team: V. Cannava (supervisor), C. Hurtado, S. Joichi, C. Vitorino
Theoretical contributions: R. Balboa, F. Scaroni
Technical support: Y. Ito, K. Yamaoka, J. Shimada, T. Kuma, B. Konkarevic
Visual production: M. Angileri, S. Mezzapelle Light design: G. Crotti
Deskrama System: Jun Oishi
PhD candidates' contributions: R. Baum, Y. Chen, K. Ko, C. Lippa, C. Vitorino, L. Zhang
Digital Fab Lab: A. Hamada, Y. Ito, T. Kuma, C. Xuhao Lin, J. Narongthanarath, D. Zaho
Tsunami Museum: M. Koike, K. Nakamura, R. Ishida, S. Murai, S. Tanaka, H. Tomoeda, M. Yoshisato, R. Ishihara, T. Sakane, C. Vitorino, A. Braverman
Sponsors: Takenaka Corporation, Stanley Corporation, Stair Link, Z Corporation
Endorsed by: The Italian Embassy in Japan, The Japan Society for Promotion of Science, The University of Tokyo

Cloud Library

The cloud patterns appear to have been imported to Japan by Buddhist monks symbolizing the outer-world. Simplified with the times, the motif used for this project is called Yokogumo which means horizontal cloud. In the Cloud event space, the pattern covers all the surfaces of the building and is used as a unifying element. Framed into modular panels, the “clouds” of the roof are movable along simple rails. By moving, they open apertures for natural ventilation. The “clouds” on the vertical wall are extractable, and can be used as pieces of furniture. Once extracted from the walls, the clouds leave gaps in the wall, so that outside and inside are connected by an ephemeral border. The clouds are made of foam and reinforced by recycled PET bottle fiber.


Masu Art Center

The project takes inspiration from the masu, a square wooden box used in the past to measure rice and now mainly used for drinking sake. The facade connects various parts of the art center and explores the aggregative potentialities of the square. Firstly, gaps were inserted in the structure and then the surface was populated by squared components of different sizes. Interiors and exteriors of the art center are connected by a set of in-between footbridges and corridors. The interiors are wrapped by an aluminum mesh envelope that let one guess the major functions of different spaces behind the filtering façade. While during the day, the façade shines, at night, the interiors and the structure become visible. 

Design team: Salvator-John A. Liotta, Omar Rabie, Nahoko Yoshii, Kaon Ko, Renato Adriasola, Yoshiya Kashima, Cristiano Lippa, Anna Braverman, Shoichi Murai, Yoko Ushioda. 
Project designed at Kuma Lab, UTDA.

A Pavilion for the European Capital of Culture

Design team : Salvator-John A. Liotta, Bojan Milan Koncarevic, Minoru Ko (KKAA).

Silk Museum

The Silk Museum design takes inspiration from the shape of a silkworm cocoon, paying homage to the culture of Southern Silk Road and Sichuan’s silk weaving style made of thin threads. The museum merges five cocoons in a configuration that shapes the grand exhibition spaces. Approaching the building in a relaxed temporal sequence, one notes the constant appearance and disappearance, broadening and narrowing of the façade’s openings. The vertical slats are modulated in response to the site, environmental factors, and diverse internal functions. The varying degrees of transparency in the aluminum façade are obtained through a careful clustering of grids: when one looks perpendicularly, the facade almost disappears. Looking at the building diagonally, the sinuous sides of the slats are visible and collectively form an atmosphere similar to the surroundinglandscape. Deliberately left to visitors’ movements as their position changes, the subtle reflection of the structure interacts with the surrounding site and the weather. This organic adaptation of the environment materializes as a delicate and ever-changing phenomena.

Design Team: Salvator-John A. Liotta, Ko Nakamura, Matteo Befiore, Yao Chen, Ling Zhang, Tomoyo Sakane Rendering: Hiroyo Yamamoto (KKAA)
*project designed at Kengo Kuma Lab, UTDA

Oriental Art Museum

The diamond motif was a common textile pattern in Japan before the Heian period 9c-12c , having been originally brought to the islands from China. It is named hishi, or water chestnut, because of its resemblance to the leaf of this tree present in Japan. Diamond patterns was a favored decoration by courtesans and members of warrior societies. Composed of laser sintered diamond-like bricks, the project is aimed at developing a curved structure that geometrically adapts the depth and porosity of its skin beyond the superficiality of surface. The overall curvature of the system contributes to structural capacity, but also provides for different orientations and exposures of each element to applicable contextual circumstances. Each element has embedded within itself a function, such as lighting or ventilation pipes.


Dragon Scale Villa

The idea for the design began with one simple module, which can be used to create the entire structural system and facade for the house. The gradual variation of sunlight intensity on the surface translates here into a gradient transformation of the triangular component formation. The inside of the house is connected via a triangular pattern to its surrounding context. Walls are made by pyramidal elements created by turning the almost triangular unit used for the facade into a 3-D element. Overlapping bi-dimensional and three-dimensional elements give the house a greater sense of depth. Associated with the powerful Hojo family, the triangle is usually identified as Uroko, meaning dragon (or fish) scale. The story tells that a woman appeared in a dream to the progenitor of the Hojo family. The woman –before turning in to a dragon and vanishing, leaving behind her three scales– prophesied the prosperity of the Hojo family.


Momiji Tea Pavilion

Momiji Pavilion is fundamentally a shading device that materializes the natural phenomenon of daylight through a double layering of panels patterned with maple leaves motif. The shadow of real leaves overlaps with the one projected via the panels resulting in the intensification of the two. The project favors the visualization of something as momentary as light through the incorporation of natural and artificial shadows. Dichotomy between nature and artifice is here explored in its phenomenological potentialities. The panels are made of used wood. The pavilion revives a woodworking technique called sashimono used by Japanese craftsmen during the Edo period. Once its life cycle was over, the furniture would be given a new life: the wood was handed down from generation to generation, passing from form to form.


Retractable Pavilion


Bio Green House


YAP 2012 - YoungArchitectureProgram

NAMI, which means “wave” in Japanese, is a project that reflects contemporaneity, aims to send a message about the importance of harmony, and to create a bridge between people and cultures. This proposal, designed by VeryVery Architecture Office, is very simple and essential: an airy space provided with shadow, movable sitting benches, and a space that can accommodate different types of events and activities. Imbued with an experimental spirit and a strong attention to sustainability, NAMI offers a chance to express the social and cultural values requested by the Young Architecture Program.


Open Air Library


Maple Leaf / Water Stream Villa