Getting in a bit of a tangle with Akihisa Hirata at the Architecture Foundation

Akihisa Hirata model houseThis week I ventured across the river, which is always exciting for a North Londoner like me, fought my way past the dark huddled masses queuing to get into the London Dungeon and arrived at the pure white heaven of Akihisa Hirata’s Tangling exhibition at the Architecture Foundation on Tooley Street.

Tanglng textI enjoyed the exhibition very much – it’s quite small but offers you a complete environment inside a curving loop of continuous wall like a Mobius strip that you have to duck in and out of to see the displays.

Akihisa Hirata exhibitionAkihisa Hirata exhibitionAkihisa Hirata exhibitionIt’s rather fun and expresses the fluid, organic nature of Hirata’s work.

Akihisa Hirata exhibitionAkihisa Hirata exhibitionIt’s not a discursive display – you don’t come out informed and educated about Hirata and his theory of architecture, or even with much grasp of what he’s built and why. And the free exhibition guide, which unfolds in confusing directions, doesn’t help.

Tangling textEven a video interview with Hirata playing on a continuous loop on one wall leaves you not much the wiser.

Akihisa HirataBut what you do get is a chance to experience the mood and feel of Hirata’s view of human beings and their architecture as part of the interwoven mesh of order of the living world.

Akihisa Hirata exhibitionArchitecture is both entangled with these natural forces and creates the space for more tangling to happen. In Hirata’s approach it creates flexible environments for people to inhabit and interesting shapes for them to live in.

Akihisa Hirata exhibitionAkihisa Hirata exhibitionAkihisa Hirata exhibitionI think I might like living in a Hirata house. It certainly wouldn’t be boring and the scope for flexible living is attractive. The family shown in the videos of life in an actual Hirata house seem happy enough.

Akihisa Hirata exhibitionSo far all his actual buildings seem to be in Japan or Taiwan, though he’s done work for exhibitions in Italy and he was joint winner of the Golden Lion award at the 13th Venice Architecture Biennale for his contribution to the Japanese Pavilion. But he’s still young and this exhibition will help build his reputation in Europe. If you don’t mind negotiating the zombie-infested tunnels of London Bridge on the way, go and see it. It’s on until 17th November.

Tangling text

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