AUSTRALIAN DESIGN REVIEW
4 AUGUST 2017
With a clearly defined aesthetic and philosophical stance, Koichi Takada’s career has enjoyed a sharp trajectory.
Having studied and graduated from the City University of New York and the Architectural Association, London, Takada’s particular talent has always been in good hands. Indeed, his thesis was under the guidance of Alejandro Zaera-Polo and Farshid Moussavi, together with Rem Koolhaas.
Following graduation Takada returned to Tokyo, to work with the extraordinary Atsushi Kitagawara Architects (Kitagawara’s oeuvre includes the Hotel, Keith Haring Collection Art Museum and Fog Forest in Showa Emperor’s National Memorial Park). In 1997 Takada visited Sydney to work on the MCA international competition and decided to make Australia home. By 2008, having worked with leading Australian architects, Takada felt it was time to set up his own practice.
Today, the practice (of 45) works in Australia and overseas with increasing international interest coming in from Tokyo, London, New York and Los Angeles. Whether these projects will be taken up, however, is yet to be seen. “We respond to these inquiries selectively. Our vision is not to become a big corporate entity but, as a boutique practice, to carefully explore great opportunities and a tailor-made approach for site specific, unique, yet surprising outcomes,” says Takada.
This type of thinking is woven throughout his practice and design philosophy in extraordinary ways. For example, the firm is currently working on numerous projects of significant scale and calibre, yet each is seen as an opportunity to nurture positive change. “It’s a big responsibility as our design will change the face of a city and how people perceive architecture. We need to make sure it isn’t just about making a business model, but one that relates to people and brings nature back to the city through a balance of the natural and artificial,” says Takada.
Skye by Crown Group is arguably the best example of this thinking, where, rather than filling the upper floor with penthouse apartments, Takada successfully argued for opening the shared space for people to enjoy. The result is a transparent and open skydeck that benefitsa greater number of people with areas for hospitality, gathering and relaxing. “There has been an emphasis shift. Architecture is not the final destination, but giving back value added architecture and design to benefit people. We encourage developers to contribute to more communal spaces and this is important to establishing a legacy that improves quality of life,” says Takada.
Taking an inside-out approach to design, Takada’s interior architecture informs the shape of the living space well beyond the utility. His restaurants explain this well with Cave, Tree, Shell, Ippudo and Zushi Barangaroo, each exploring the hospitality interior as an architectural feature. More importantly, perhaps, they also allowed Takada to hone his particular aesthetic. Part Japanese sensibility, part love of Australia and largely a poetic response, his interiors evoke nature, the curve of a coast line, the sprawl of a tree, while all the while being quiet and gently austere. These attributes are beautifully apparent with his interior design for Central Park East where soft timber and muted interiors are made sublime with sliding timber screens that create a lantern effect of a ‘tree house’ within the urban forest of Jean Nouvel’s architecture and Patrick Blanc’s vertical garden.
To a large extent it was this project that put Takada on the architectural radar for the media and architectural peers. “Koichi Takada’s buildings, through formal material and references to nature, have a delicate, warm and corporeal quality no matter what scale of building. And Koichi himself is a terrific warm-hearted and determined architect. I’ve no doubt that we are seeing just the beginning of great things from his studio,” says William Smart, principal of Smart Design Studio. […]
For the complete article, this can be found on Australian Design Review