In Between

Sou Fujimoto, Tokyo

I have been thinking about architecture of in-between.

For instance, the notion of “in-between” can unequivocally denote something unbeknownst to all when someone invokes “in between a city and a house.” The very culprit of our incomprehensibility can be revealed there spatially. We immediately ponder: What can that be? Yet, there is nothing concrete in between. In-between state is consistently transparent even if those “things” that constituted both extremities are corporeal.

If such is the case, cannot we think that an ultimate architecture in a sense is what can be considered the architecture of in-between? Architecture is relentlessly plagued by maladroit, inevitable formalism, opacity and confinement. However, let us imagine the architecture in which everything in-between arise weightlessly, crème-de-la-crème, and coarse residual sediments submerge. We can imagine the “architecture of in-between” as loci constituted solely by those in-between conditions. This is the architecture of dreams.

Gradation will become the keyword for the future of architecture.
For instance, there are infinite colorific degrees between white and black, and innumerable values between 1 and 0.
Conventional architecture systematizes our world in the name of “functionalism,” as if clearly differentiated into black and white. However, our contemporary lives are sustained by myriads of unpredictable actions that lie between them. Unlike the internet, space is not capable of switching from 0 to 1 instantaneously. Conversely, the allure of space must lay in its ability to actualize in reality the possibilities of a gradation in between 0 and 1.

It is a quintessential architectural discovery to make these “gradations” manifest as enriching experiences in new forms. One clear example is the telescopic nesting of House N, and another method is exemplified by the differentiated floors of the Final Wooden House.

Gradations lay dormant in diverse places. They can be found in between: interiority and exteriority; architecture and urbanism; furniture and architecture; private and public; theaters and museums; houses and streets; matter and space; morning and night; comprehensibility and incomprehensibility; and dynamism and immobility. In between multitude of concepts, we should be able to uncover unforeseen gradations and provide them new forms. The idea of gradation will herald the immense possibilities of architecture.