Takeshi Hosaka is the epitome of contemporary Japanese architecture. The austerity of his blank and minimalist designs, with their dominant white tones, is tempered by certain playfulness. Yet, through their balanced forms and smooth simplicity, his buildings exert a distinctive charm and create an almost cozy ambience. After winning the Japanese Architecture Association's "Rookie of the Year" award, he has accepted invitations from across the globe to present not only his projects, but also his drafts and sketches.
At the beginning of April 2013, he was a guest at The House of Art at České Budějovice in the Czech Republic, where his works were on display, and also gave architecture lectures at the Technical University of Liberec in the same country. It was there that we met this very passionate architect.
What construction and material technologies do you use to realize your architectural concepts?
The choice of the best materials to bring my designs to life always demands very careful consideration. All relevant factors are considered – the building location, climate, conditions – everything is thought through to the end. After that, I create a physical mock-up to check for problems and examine those areas with scope for improvement.
I think it is this intensive deliberation, from inception to completion, about materials and techniques that enables me to identify the best solutions for realizing my designs.
Trends in urban planning
What are the main trends in architecture and urban planning, as you see it?
The "Modern City" idea established in the mid-twentieth century is still going strong, even now in 2013, and I believe it will continue to influence architecture and urban design. Modern cities are springing up all over the world. They have uniform styles of architecture, transport networks, living formats and energy systems. Many of the cities growing up across the globe are very similar.
Environmentally friendly Constructions
How important do you think green construction, e.g. green roofs, high-reflection coatings or solar roofs, will become in the future?
In most cases, the precise role of green construction is not very clear given the wide regional variations in landscapes and environments. In other words, there are a multitude of ways in which these technologies can be exploited. I think that pinpointing the appropriate response in each situation is our primary task.
influence of surroundings
Do your buildings address the region or setting in which they are located? What part does Sika play here?
My Hoto Fudo building was consciously designed to blend with the landscape. No matter how far you drive, the roadside landscape in the regional towns and cities of Japan are all the same. Large parking lots and the same types of retail buildings line the road.
Even the tourist town of Kawaguchiko, at the foot of Mount Fuji, has the same roadscape.
I wanted to address the problems Japan has with its landscape and suggest a new type of scenery. Mount Fuji is visible to the south of Hoto Fudo, so by fashioning an image of clouds floating down from the mountain, I tried to make the architecture and backdrop read as a single entity.
This building is designed with a free-form-surfaced reinforced-concrete shell, and its shape is very complex. This combined with various other factors, such as the elasticity needed for changes in shape, durability and waterproofing performance, prompted me to select Sika’s urethane waterproofing membranes as the best solution for the building’s surface finish.
Is there a guiding principle in your work and if so, what?
In my opinion, architecture needs to engage actively with the environment with which it coexists. I believe it is possible to design buildings that will breed a new richness and emotional satisfaction for the human race.
The dichotomy between internal and external architecture is another guiding theme. Architects are usually perceived as creators of interiors, but by discovering novel relationships between inside and outside, I believe we can develop a new mode of architectural design.
What is your dream as a designer?
I dream of establishing an architectural foundation that will last for over 1000 years.
What is your favorite material?
Precast and Ductal concrete.
What do you see as your biggest challenge?
In seeking new relationships between interiors and exteriors, and with environments and landscapes, I am driven by the ambition of creating architectural structures that will stand the test of time and convince future generations that the designers of the present age were indeed able to craft wonderful cities and buildings.
Takeshi Hosaka and Sika
What are your ties with Sika?
I am fascinated by the idea of creating spectacular structures using precast concrete. I look forward to being discovered by a client with the same passion. The path from the initial ideas for an architectural composition to the finished product is lined with numerous obstacles. Yet, with Sika's support, I hope to fashion a stunning precast-concrete structure that will stand as a testament to our present generation.
Exposition in the Czech Republic
What is on display at České Budějovice, Czech Republic, in April/May 2013?
There are countless "floating" sketches, based on the concept of "Ku u so u" (imaginations). I always sketch when creating architectural designs and most of these sketches end up as unsuccessful attempts. Yet, I discover wonderful things in the remaining ones.
The display area can also be seen as the area inside my mind. Wander through the sketches that are the product of my imagination, sit in the moon chair, and fully experience the world of "Ku u so u", as if in a cradle. The exhibition is also about transferring what was born in the imaginary world to the tangible world of architecture. I would like everyone to experience this small world between reality and architectural design.
For more information: http://www.hosakatakeshi.com