Junya Ishigami

Kokage-gumo . Tokyo

Junya Ishigami . Kokage-gumo . Tokyo architecturephoto afasia (8)

junya.ishigami+associates . photos: © architecturephoto

Ishigami’s design for Tokyo Pavilion 2021 shot by architecturephoto.


There is an old residence in Kudanshita, which was built in 1927 (the second year of the Showa Period) by Mankichi Yamaguchi, a prosperous businessman. Architects including Tachu Naito, who designed the Tokyo Tower, were involved in its construction. In the old, but beautiful garden of the residence, I built a canopy that gently keep us out of from the sunlight, which will only be present this summer.

In order for the newly built canopy to blend in with the historical scenery, I thought from the beginning to giving it an aged look. Specifically, I intended to fill the garden with wooden pillars and roofs, which have been burnt using the Yakisugi technique (traditional Japanese method of wood preservation by slightly charring the surface of cedar wood). By adjusting the fire heat, the surface of the cedar wood is charred, and parts of the wooden structure are burnt. The wooden structure that extends widely across the garden is carbonized into flexible shapes, in order to be placed around the existing old trees growing thickly in the garden. The charred jet black wooden structure has a similar appearance to an abandoned house too. It looks as if it transformed from a new building to a ruined house, and underwent the transition of a building due to ageing in an instant.

The black wooden structure covers and hides the surrounding skyscrapers that did not exist in the early Showa period, and the countless rays of light flowing through the holes of the structure blends with the sunshine throughout the leaves. As the modern scenery is revealed through the trees disappearing, and the strong sunshine of the summer softens, the visitors share the same ancient time that flows within the garden. The jet black structure is the cool shadow that floats in between the old trees on a summer evening.

Junya Ishigami