Asakusa is a private gallery space for contemporary art programs and renovation project, developed in collaboration with architect Kosaku Matsumoto (Blue Architects, Zurich) and curator Koichiro Osaka (SCAI The Bathhouse, Tokyo). The residential property was built in 1965 in Asakusa, one of Tokyo’s most bustling tourist districts, and is located steps away from busy streets in a secluded area where 20 households live side-to-side and back-to-back, forming a discreet colony.
During three months of an onsite residency, Matsumoto and Osaka engaged in day-to-day discussion and construction, constantly reworking the spatial design on a life-size scale of 1/1. The use of architectural drawings and scale models was abandoned as they extracted elements intrinsically linked to the neighborhood. While ensuring direct and continual access to building materials, the project sought to evoke the participants’ response to existing features as the house was being dismantled and articulate a process of reconstruction where each segment becomes a realization of conceived dialogue. Suggesting how the formation of mutual consensus itself becomes an aim of the architectural project, the project also poses a hypothetical question on wholeness and segments: How is it possible to avoid conceptual reductionism and suspend wholeness in a reflective state through external effects? As the house is lived and performed, it acts as a responsive medium active in relation to the surroundings.
This project stems from a small conversation on Graham Harman’s short text, The Third Table, published through dOCUMENTA (13), and his discourse on object-oriented philosophy.
Asakusa, located on 1-6-16 Nishi-Asakusa, Tokyo, is a 40-square-meter private gallery space for contemporary art programs due to opening in October 2015.
Construction_TANK (Takashi Arai)
photography_Nobutada OMOTE / Ippei Shinzawa