Apr 30th 2018

Research in Progress: Architects of Atelier Nishikata Visit IIT

Architects Hirohito Ono and Reiko Nishio of Atelier Nishikata, a Tokyo-based architecture firm established in 2000, recently visited the IIT College of Architecture to further research they have undertaken on the work of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

House in Awaji

The duo's interest in Mies first came about in the late 1990's, when Nishio was at work on her degree at the University of Tokyo, and as a part of her research visited the famed Barcelona Pavilion. Her fascination with Mies' conceptions in space have informed their own practice, on projects such as 2001's "House in Awaji" with it's unique patterns of spatial repetition, and 2012's "Room with 3 Closets" which explores the abstracted inaccessibility of the space within enclosed volumes. "In the Barcelona Pavilion," says Nishio, "inaccessible spaces act as dialogues as well divisions." 

Ono's interest in Mies stemmed from the observation that his European and America works are often spoken of a being radically different. The two wanted to see for themselves if this assessment held true, and in the course of their research, made arrangements for the visit to IIT.  On their first day at the campus, they were taken on a comprehensive tour by Dean Michelangelo Sabatino.  "To find the similarities firsthand," said Ono, "is to find that the similarities are in the space, sometimes more than in the structure." 

The pair set to work in Crown Hall, with a visit to the Graham Resource Center for further research materials. When asked if the campus had met their expectations, Nishio replied, "It is very beautiful, and simple, but deceptive in its simplicity."