Architecture of The Earth
Exhibition at TOTO Gallery･MA , Tokyo 2021
Earth is a material.
It is also a place where we live, that we transform.
Architecture sometimes chooses to build with it.
Others to exist independently.
Or to flatten its face.
Vestiges of ancient monuments carved in rock, built with it, vernacular architectures that give order to the materials around them, land art, and some earthworks as well… evidence the potential of using land and landscapes actively, beyond their understanding as sources for endless exploitation.
Architecture of the Earth presented a series of research and professional projects conducted by Ensamble Studio over two decades. Though developed at different times, in different geographies and for different reasons, together they contribute to reflect upon the relation between Architecture and the Earth, or the print that we, as humans, leave on our environment. Reading landscapes, recycling them, reinforcing their crust or using it as mold, structures are built utilizing the natural potential of places and creating synergies. Learning from geological processes, analog construction methodologies are developed, and new architectural languages discovered, opening our imagination to unknown territories that are worth exploring.
The exhibition at Gallery MA was set up in three distinct spaces through which the theme unfolded:
Laboratory of Ideas (RESEARCH),
Rock Garden (DESIGN) and
Audiovisual Landscapes (CONSTRUCTION)
They proposed an itinerary, from ideas to materialization and back: a retrofitting loop that presented the theme of the exhibition as an ongoing endless enterprise.
Space 1: RESEARCH - Laboratory of Ideas
Laboratory of Ideas presented a collection of investigations, opening a window into Ensamble Studio’s workspaces in Madrid, Boston and Menorca, where ideas are developed through hands-on experimentation. Process models filled the space showing the evolution of ideas through iteration and extensive testing.
Audiovisuals on small screens accompanied the physical objects revealing the making of the objects themselves and the workspaces where they were thought of.
Towers of Landscape
Strokes / Calligraphies
Space 2: DESIGN - Rock Garden
Rock Garden connects ideas with places, showing how projects are developed when prototypes meet the ground, adopt a scale and build a space. Inspired by the Japanese rock garden (枯山水 - karesansui) it became an outdoor contemplation space central to the exhibition. It was a Space of Design, a space of testing and definition. Selected prototypes come out of the laboratory to show how ideas become projects when matched with a site and given scale. Prototypes were set on a gravel base as floating islands, configuring a dry garden that can be contemplated from indoor spaces and from the bridge above.
AlUla Desert Rock
Governor’s Island Museum
Space 3: CONSTRUCTION - Audiovisual Landscapes
Audiovisual Landscapes created an immersive experience where visitors, after learning about research and design processes, realize how projects become a reality through inventive construction processes. It was a Space of Construction, a space of realization. Construction processes and built projects were showcased through large scale projections that created an immersive experience where visitors visualized how research and design become a reality.
After visiting Space 3, moving back through Space 2 and Space 1 enabled a new reading and comprehension of the work presented and the overarching theme.
Structures of Landscapes
For more information: Ensamble Studio: Architecture of The Earth | TOTO GALLERY·MA
To purchase the publication, visit: ARCHITECTURE OF THE EARTH ENSAMBLE STUDIO｜｜TOTO Publishing