AR Awards for Emerging Architecture

Honourable mention



Tokamachi City, Japan

December 2006
Inspired by such diverse sources as origami and jellyfish, this remarkable ‘floating’ structure caught the judges' imagination. Designed by Tokyo-based Fujiki Studio, it synthesises and channels different kinds of technologies, from weaving to LED, to give a sharp new twist on traditional themes. Fujiki Studio and its principal Ryumei Fujiki are no strangers to gentle architectural subversion. An earlier project involved wrapping telegraph poles in kaleidoscopic fabrics (AR November 2005), thus transforming the utilitarian into objects of strange and compelling beauty.
Here the practice have created a kind of urban folly/cocoon that glows icy blue in the dark, like a giant, beached, phosphorescent jellyfish. The crystalline structure is based on the scoring and folding principles of origami, that most precise and elegant of all traditional Japanese arts. For this ambitious, self-build, public origami, plastic replaces paper. External walls are fabricated from woven polyethylene cushions anchored in place by a network of tensile members. Ribbed polycarbonate sheeting partially enclosed the pentagon-shaped openings at either ends.
Though it resembles a floating cocoon, the structure only appears to be hovering on the water; it is in fact moored to the base of the shallow pool. The inside of the cocoon is a soft and enticing tunnel into which adults and children alike can burrow and enjoy a tranquil refuge from the scurrying cares of the world. C. S.
Fujiki Studio, KOU::ARC
Tel ; fax 81