WORKING WITH/IN THE GAP (2017 - 2021) is a research project conducted in collaboration with the Radical Materiality Research Group at KULeuven, Belgium. In this practice-based research architectural habit(at)s that approach space in terms of objects are recast through the lens of Japanese architecture. In contrast to an conceptualization of architecture as material and constructive, Japanese architects foreground movement and performativity. Space does not figure as empty distance between objects, but is experienced and understood as a sensorially charged field that emerges from and within movement. Such ‘full emptiness’ is articulated through the Japanese concept of ma.
At heart this project presents a collection of close ‘encounters with ma’. Based on re-enactment of the exhibition Ma: Space-Time in Japan, designed by Japanese architect Arata Isozaki in 1978, the pratice of ma is studied in the context of and through the moving body. Shifting focus from an architecture of objects to an architecture of reciprocity, this project explores the potential of a cross-pollinated spatial habitus in which the focus on the architectural object; material and construction goes hand in hand with a focus on space; performativity and movement.
The practice-based research resulted in the pre-publication Working With/In the Gap: Japan-ness in Architecture of Experience (2021). In this book-as-catalogue the research conclusions are summarized as spatial tactics to shift focus from the architectural object and a planned design process to a design process guided by tiny perceptions, un/balancing procedurals and (m)aware play.
December 2019, Bendigo (AUS)
October 2019, Amsterdam (NL)
December 2018, The Hague (NL)
October 2018, Delft (NL)
May 2018, East Hampton, NY (USA)
Architect Arata Isozaki (Japan), Radical Materiality Research Group at KU Leuven, Brussels/Ghent (Belgium); Saskia Pouwels; Lise Brenner; Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris (France); Frank van der Ven/ BodyWeather Amsterdam (Netherlands) and the grounds of Liguria (Italy); Kenzo Kusuda (Netherlands) and the many spaces we have explored together; Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum in New York (USA); Architectural Body Research Foundation/Bioscleave House in East Hampton (NY, USA); Reversible Destiny Foundation/ Estate of Madeline Gins in New York (USA); Ecologies of Architecture Research Group at TU Delft (Netherlands); Studies of the Architectural Body Research Group, Kansai University (Japan); the grounds of the Teigyokuken teahouse in Daitoku-ji Kyoto (Japan); Arakawa + Gins Tokyo Office/Reversible Destiny Lofts Mitaka, Tokyo (Japan); CLOUD Danslab in The Hague (Netherlands); atelier Kleine Peer in The Hague (Netherlands); SenseLab Concordia University/La Trobe Art Institute, Bendigo (Australia); and AIRGuiniguida in La Angostura (Gran Canaria).