In a conversation with Vikas Bhadra, Japanese architect Tsuyoshi Tane, Principal Architect, Atelier Tsuyoshi Tane Architects says that the value of craftsmanship in contemporary design should not be undermined as it has been consistently adding value and spirit to architecture since its inception.
The idea of design
The idea of design keeps evolving, it has played an important role in our civilization which witnessed industrialization, internationalization and universalization of our life. Likewise culture has denoted the core values we abide by since we became civilized species. Design proves to be useful in the modern society in a myriad ways. However most of our modern life has become homogenous, the essence of our ancient culture and wisdom has diminished. Therefore, we believe the idea of culture should be studied closely to inherit the knowledge and wisdom from the past and track its impact and utility in the contemporary world.
East vs West
In my opinion, the components of the east and west are vastly different in terms of conception, philosophy, materialisation, and a way of learning and thinking. Globalisation has enabled the exchange of ideas and concepts in ways more than one. This trend can be seen of course in our day to day life as well. Since the world has become more borderless, we often go abroad to seek more knowledge and opportunities. Our practice employs around 30 people from over 10 countries, and we exchange our ideas and thoughts everyday through the language of architecture. Therefore, today I do not limit my idea based only on my learnings from Japan and Europe alone. I want to take the advantage of this globalized diversity to learn the differences and uniqueness and to obtain a better understanding of global issues and individual identities.
The lure of ancient Indian architecture
The creations of ancient India continue to interest me. During my stay in India I have visited the different temples which were built in different eras by different craftsmen. These included a cave temple and some Hindu temples too. I also visited the traditional houses in the middle of market places in the city that were probably built by unknown architects. Also, there are great architects today in India, who have made a mark in contemporary architecture.
The role of architecture in addressing the urban challenge Population growth is one of the biggest issues in the world. 50 per cent of the global population resides in the city which has never happened in our history. The planning and function of a city should never lose sight of the original objectives which it wanted to attain. Most of the cities are designed to showcase their economic prowess with little or no heed for the social issues and this is quite a concern. Through architecture, we need to think a sustainable way for a city to deliver basic needs for people and to foster a community building among the residents. It is also good to take a cue from the facts we are aware of and the history we have witnessed so far.
The Estonian National Museum project
The Estonian Restoration of Independence took place in 1991 following which Estonia decided to make a national museum to celebrate their independence. An international competition was announced in 2006. It was the first time I participated in an international competition. It took us 10 years to build the museum after we were declared as the winners. The museum has received nearly 10,00,000 visitors since the opening day. It attracted 1,95,000 visitors in 2018 of which 22 per cent were international visitors across 90 different nations. We were incredibly happy to see that architecture can narrate some parts of history in a succinct way.
Architecture needs to centre on life and people
In simple terms, the form of architecture defines the volume of a building and the function is to define the utility of the building. The form can be altered, extended, demolished as also renovated in the due course of time. The function of the building may also change from a residence to an office, to a museum, to a public facility. In the meantime, what we have to keep in mind that the essence of the architecture is to make a place for people, so it always has to be life-oriented.
We chose materials and define a project concept through the process of what we call archaeological research aiming to discover a memory of the site. The facts we find through this process can be sometimes surprising and give us a fresh idea to select materials. So, I think we keep our door open at a first phase and make it narrower later when we finalize the concept.
Art and Architecture
While art and architecture are recognized as one creation today, it’s a pity that we have lost respect for craftsmanship in contemporary design. Craftsmanship in contemporary design had a huge contribution in adding value and spirit to architecture since its inception. When designing and implementing a project, I personally think it is important to note that a high quality of the craftsmanship and architecture can have a great collaboration together to create something unique which we can pass on to the future generation.