Naomi Shibata (Editor)

Born in 1975 in Nagoya, Japan. Naomi Shibata is an editor. After graduating from Musashino Art University’s Department of Architecture, she joined the editorial team of architecture magazine A+U from 1999 to 2006. From 2006 to 2007, she worked at thonik, a graphic design office based in the Netherlands, through the Ministry of Cultural Affairs’ Program of Overseas Study for Upcoming Artists. Since then, she has worked on editorial design and curation both inside and outside of Japan. From 2010 to 2015, she managed communications for Sendai School of Design (a joint partnership between Tohoku University and City of Sendai). She also served as Assistant Curator for Aichi Triennale 2013. In 2015, she completed a research residency on exhibition facilities in relation to architecture at the Cité internationale des arts. She served as Exhibition Coordinator for YKK AP’s Windowology 10th Anniversary Exhibition: The World Through the Window in 2017.

November 20, 2018

Looking at Freespace through the Windows, Part 3

Vatican Pavilion (Holy See Pavilion)
Andrew Berman

Francesco Dal Co (Architectural Historian, Professor at Istituto Universitario di Architettura Venezia, and Editor-in-Chief of CASABELLA), Micol Forti (Head of Modern and Contemporary Department of Vatican Museum)

Participating architects:
Norman Foster (UK), Terunobu Fujimori (Japan), Francesco Cellini (Italy), Andrew Berman (USA), Javier Corvalán Espinola (Paraguay), Flores & Prats (Spain), Carla Juaçaba (Brazil), Smiljan Radic (Chile), Eduardo Souto de Moura (Portugal), Sean Godsell (Australia), MAP Studio: Francesco Magnani and Traudy Pelzel (Italy)

 Floating across the canal from St. Markʼs Square is San Giorgio Maggiore Island, the greater part of which consists of a former monastery, as well as Basilica di San Giorgio Maggiore, designed by Andrea Palladio. 

After Napoleon ordered the monastery to be closed in 806, the island was occupied by the military, lying in ruins until Count Vittorio Cini purchased it in 1951. The Giorgio Cini Foundation, established by the Count, aims to rebuild and restore this island as a cultural base, starting with the former monastery. With the 2012 opening of Le Stanze del Vetro, an exhibition space for glass-related works, and with the presentation of Hiroshi Sugimotoʼs Glass Tea House Mondrian in its front garden in 2014, the island is becoming a familiar destination for Biennale visitors. 

Vatican City, which has been participating as one of the national pavilions for the Venice Biennale since 2013, and which joined the International Architecture Exhibition for the first time this year, chose the forest in the back of Basilica di San Giorgio Maggiore for this yearʼs location. President of the Pontifical Council for Culture Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi served as commissioner, and Francesco Dal Co and Micol Forti served as curators. Drawing inspiration from Gunnar Asplundʼs Woodland Chapel (1920), which was built inside the Woodland Cemetery (Skogskyrkogården), the show asks the architects to interpret and develop their own chapels. Venice-based MAP Studioʼs Asplund Pavilion, as well as follies by 10 pairs of architects titled Vatican Chapels, are scattered about the abundant forest. 

Andrew Bermanʼs chapel follows a triangular plan and features an opening with a porch overlooking Venice’s lagoon that provides seating for a few people. The interior at the backside of the porch is dark, with bright lights shining through incisions at its upper corners: a space allowing for introspection. Since the pre-Christian construction of the Pantheon to this day, the ubiquity of light passing through high windows has been inseparable from the sanctity of religious architecture. 

The light of 1,000 years ago, when monks devoted their prayers on this island, is the same light that shines down today from these corners, inviting one to look up at the sky from below.  

  • ©Akiko Tsukamoto (Window Research Institute)
    Translucent polycarbonate boards cover the wooden structure, which is painted in white. The interior uses plywood, painted in black. The building does not follow a specific style and is designed to blend in with the surrounding forest.
November 4, 2018

Looking at Freespace through the Windows, Part 2

The Arsenale
Rozana Montiel Estudio de Arquitectura

For Mexico-based architect Rozana Montiel, freespace indicates freeing space and actions, or a space for the act of placemaking. She describes architecture as “social construction,” saying: “Beauty is not a luxury, but a basic service that cannot be separated from need and function.”

The installation her studio developed for the Biennale titled Stand Ground is located in the Corderie, or a long colonnaded space that was once used to build ropes for tying up the ships of the Arsenale, which is the ruins of a state-owned shipyard from the Middle Ages. The once-vertical wall of the space is laid on the floor, as if to literally represent Montielʼ s philosophy of design—”change barriers into boundaries.” With the wallʼ s arched window also reproduced and laid on the floor, we view instead a projection showing footage of the outside worldʼ s vibrant everyday life. By breaking the wall vertically separating these spaces, Montiel merges the enclosed exhibition space and the view from its window; the usually vertical window, then, is turned into a flat surface that allows visitors to experience the strange sensation of walking beside it. The full-scale reproduction was built out of recycled Venetian bricks.

Montiel confronts how space changes through the process of creating architecture, and incorporates the following in her practice to create freespace that activates a given place:

1. Search content in context: work with community
2. Convert barriers into horizons: open communication
3. Transform the perception of space: use space creatively
4. Approach the landscape as a prerequisite: recycle existing infrastructure
5. Re-signify the materials: create a sense of place through texture
6. Work with temporality: respond to change in needs over time
7. Believe in beauty as a basic right

  • A live projection of the Venice Canals outside is displayed on the wall / Photo by Sandra Pereznieto
September 7, 2018

Looking at Freespace through the Windows, Part 1

The 16th Venice Architecture Biennale is currently open from Saturday, May 26 to Sunday, November 25, 2018 in Venice, Italy. Appointed Directors Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, who head Grafton Architects based in Dublin, Ireland, selected Freespace as its overarching theme.

Grafton Architects have designed many buildings of a highly public nature, starting with university facilities such as Universita Luigi Bocconiʼs School of Economics, UTEC Limaʼs university campus, and Université Toulouse 1 Capitoleʼs School of Economics, which is currently under construction. They won the Silver Lion at the 13th Venice Architecture Biennale for Architecture as New Geography, which exhibited a practice viewing architecture as a “built geography” that takes part in restructuring the landscape, and centers on dialogues with geographical and cultural characteristics particular to the site as their starting points.

For the Biennale, they hope to unravel the diversity, specificity, and trends within architecture by having the national pavilions and participating architects present their own ideas on Freespace.

Of the many exhibited projects, we will introduce works related to windows; perhaps the national pavilions or exhibits themselves can be thought of as windows into their respective “freespaces.”


Central Pavilion

As the title The facade is the window to the soul of architecture indicates, the central pavilion presents an antithesis to the fact that the facade has long been excluded from architectural discourse. It is a statement that rings all the more true when backed by Caruso St John Architectsʼ years of experience. Elevations of their architectural work, as well as photographs of facades that have influenced the architects (Photo by Philip Heckhausen), are displayed one above another on the wall. The exhibition gives a glimpse into Caruso St John Architectsʼ beliefs and architectural methodology, which pay respect to history and arrive at designs that blend with the existing surrounding architecture.

For example, an elevation of Newport Street Gallery, which was completed in London in 2015 and is known as the gallery where artist Damien Hirst displays his personal art collection, is shown above photographs of Via Daniele Manin in Milan and Newport Street in London. At Newport Street Gallery, two newly constructed contemporary buildings at either end flank three Victorian buildings that were built as carpentry and scenery workshops in 1913, during the golden age of theatre. These new buildings are also made with a hard, pale red brick that characterizes Victorian architecture (1837-1901) and connects the facades together. The five buildings maintain both their unique qualities and similarities, and together they create a striking impression as a city block.

The architecture of Victorian warehouses (1837 – 1901) also symbolizes the height of the UKʼs economic development during the Industrial Revolution; Caruso St John Architects says, “Good buildings…can accommodate new uses over time, and while programme can be fleeting, it is the physical presence and the image of these buildings that underpin the formation of great cities..”