an experience full of pinch-me moments

Having been on multiple dtours, i would like to divide this note into general learning from the dtours and specific learnings from the far east – particularly Japan and Seoul.

#learning from the dtour experience:-

  • How to absorb, how to understand, how to imbibe, how to be curious
  • Information is not learning, to see is to believe
  • The power of the collective, what can one do in a group can never be done alone – not in the same intensity not with the same intent
  • Beg, borrow, steal – go the distance – don’t give up
  • It is important to be an enthusiast
  • Energy, mental and physical – is 80% of the job
  • Outside one’s comfort zone –  that’s where the learning takes place
  • Eureka moments are real

#learning from south korea and japan :-

  • value systems translate into visual material culture – architecture – the soft and the hard are complimentary – both important. you cannot create (something) if you cannot be honest to the values it conveys.
  • silence in people, silence in architecture – calmness in people, calmness in architecture  – this interconnectedness is very pronounced in Japan..and south korea to some extent..
  • tradition can transition beautifully into modernity and contemporary times – japan to me is one of the finest examples of this – of how identity and cultural rootedness have evolved with the times and technology
  • Materials are best celebrated when stretched to their maximum potential
  • Scale is vital and can be deceptive in pictures..
  • Architects must explore and experiment with all typologies – there are no star typologies..
  • Context complements and matters to architecture hugely
  • Best examples of nature and architecture integration exist in Japan
  • Buildings here depend on natural light so much that their opening times are dependent on it – beautiful
  • Simplicity can be overwhelming (of course) ,but can also be excessive, monotonous and extravagant…(like ornamentation)
  • Architecture is craftsmanship – construction is craftsmanship – details are essential

Best experiences on the tour :-

  • The experience of experiencing quintessentially Japanese things – staying in a capsule – automated toilets – public baths – zen gardens – no trash cans.
  • Japanese art islands, remote..small and solely dedicated to art..journeying through speedboats..bicycles.
  • The Wood museum workshop…
  • Experiencing art in different contexts – with water – in the garden of art…with natural light at chichu
  • The importance of ‘Light’ in Ando’s work…the element of water integrated..Ando’s wall and framing..the validity of it all..brilliant portfolio that we saw..
  • Ando’s interpretation of his own museum – modest – his best projects – first house, small church with stringent budgets, unbuilt work…surprising

Japanese architects – their different styles yet inherently japanese essence.


Mridu Sahai

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