Female Architecture
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Female Architecture

These five photographs are from the DVD Blue is my colour. With this DVD Tonny Zwollo introduces the idea of ‘female architecture’, and brings designing and architecture closer to the public.
From left to right these photographs are showing:
  1. The beach of Castricum from chapter 1: Childhood impressions.
  2. View from the Vézelay hill from chapter 2: Student years.
  3. Market design for Tlacolula from chapter 3: Schools and markets.
  4. Her house in Guendulain from chapter 4: Habitats and homes.
  5. Market structures in Puerto Escondido from chapter 5: Special projects.
In the description about her own work the Japanese architect Itsuko Hasegawa gives us an example of the (female) elements she is using to achieve (female) architecture.

From the catalogue Itsuko Hasegawa: Fluctuations
(Aedes Galerie und Architekturforum, Hackische Höfe, Berlin)


The Japanese city has a beauty that is inseparable from the changes of the seasons. However, it also exists within extreme societal shifts, perpetually incomplete within this changing process.
‘Yuragi’ is an ancient Japanese word meaning ‘fluctuation’, with connotations of both freedom and dissipation. It can also be interpreted as the layering of two systems at different speeds, the changes of which cannot be accurately predicted.

Going back over my past projects, I find a number of common characteristics. I extracted seven keywords that best describe them and have tried to organize them along a time line. Those words are: ‘garando’ (emptiness), latent nature (topography), ‘harappa’ (the empty field), bridge, screen, and software. Although these words differ slightly from the others in application, all of them share common design directions.

All of my work maintains the concept of ‘garando’ and the ‘harappa’ as a basis of design. I especially sought ‘garando’ in my early residential projects in order to actively provide unexpected flexibility for ‘longue durée’ instead of the preoccupied formulas and patterned theories of architects. In public buildings, it is an ‘harappa’. Residential ‘garando’ is the equivalent of a public ‘harappa’. The ‘harappa’ is an all-inclusive space for diverse activities, the unbuilt land; a forest; a place of multi-layered ‘longue durée’ with many views and voices, and a free space of continuous changes and creations.

‘Latent nature’ or ‘architecture as topography’ is the architecturalization of an ‘harappa’ and indicates a direction to emphasize the landscape aspects of architecture. The interplay of the natural and the artificial or the environment comfortably transformed by architecture as represented in showers of light, filtered through perforated metal panels, have become the main theme of my work.

The small cupolas used for ventilation and light in the Bizan Hall and the House in Kumamoto are applications of this concept in a roof structure. The ‘bridge’ is an extension of the ‘harappa’ concept as an articulated circulation system.

The glass-skinned buildings since the Footwork project are transparent ‘garando’. Contrary to houses which require privacy, in highly public buildings I have tried to induce incidental architectural relationships with their surroundings. This approach was later formalized as the concept of the ‘screen’. The ‘screens’ set up in the ‘harappa’ are symbolic of the germination of a new society, and the inclusion of complex, unspecific, and pluralistic relationships. The ‘screens’ wrap all the people, their actions, light, wind, nature and the whole landscape, demonstrating -I believe- a newly inclusive architecture.

As I reached the concept of ‘garando’ through close communication with my clients, in public building projects I used the ‘software’ of social and architectural arrangements to start moving toward utilization of the ‘harappa’.

Itsuko Hasegawa


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