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Festival Workshop In Tokyo

Part 1 Project 2001
Matthias Suchert
Bartlett School of Architecture (UCL) London UK
The first impression of Tokyo was of a highly efficient machinery that worked perfectly. In this environment, no spaces of public rest likeable to the Italian Piazza were found.

The study of equally efficient supermarkets led to the conception of the whole city being a gigantic "Kitchen" where every movement is streamlined and functional. To grasp that, a meal was prepared to study the field in the kitchen. The meal produced, was consumed ceremoniously, at leisure, with friends. The effectiveness of previous actions produced a small festival of great joy. Thus, an interest in the Mikoshi, portable festival floats, was combined to transform a public 'Kitchen' space into a festival space. This via the proposed workshop for Mikoshi.

The entire building process is to intensify the site changes and to preserve prior states. Earth is moved, parts are cast and formwork is re-used as viewing platforms and in the structure. Thus, a human scale needed to influence every single component. Once completed, the whole is a composition of many elements, as seen in the sections. All parts are interdependent on each other, be that the floor, the roof and components produced. Even the final product itself. This elaborate choreography serves the wanting of the structure to collaborate towards the festival, whose embodiment, personification, is the Mikoshi. Structural parts from the Mikoshi serve as structural parts of the workshop until completion. Matter of the workshop is transformed into matter of the Mikoshi. Every step is documented and posted in paper form, in an ordered accumulation of achievement.

Upon completion, the festival's rules dictate chaos, which reigns. Previous order is distorted into festive atmosphere. The neighborhood produced the mikoshi under supervision of a Master, each effort being a collaboration towards a community festival of enormous scale. Joy and happiness abounds. The workshop dies, depleted of materials and personnell with hangovers. Structurally unsound, it is repaired and re-charged with new material and fresh workers, to begin, another cycle.

Matthias Suchert

Last year the Unit was attempting to define the notion of the field: an architecture which presupposes duration, narrative and movement as the essence of spatiality. Combining a poetic imagination with craftsmanship and a distinctive sense of materiality, this student's projects demonstrate his sensitive awareness of how things work. This makes him more a designer of behaviour rather, than just form.

The student's development of a transient architecture was based on an understanding of the "fall" as a designed transition between two static states. This he studied both physically: gravity and fluid dynamics, as well as conceptually: the "fall" as urban transgression.

His paper aeroplane launcher is as a kinetic garden drawing flight patterns and seeding the city. Then his wishing well at Rosebery Avenue explores a non Cartesian spatiality by controlling and tracing the trajectories of falling objects.

The student's final project for a mikoshi Japanese floats) workshop in Tokyo, at the same time symbiotically constructs and dissects a particular festival and produces public space as event rather than place. An important element of his structure draws on hanami, the cherry blossom celebration and was fully developed in his excellent and profound technical dissertation on aerodynamics.

A great achievement through remarkable talent, generosity and humour.

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