Famous Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto has recently been Belgrade’s guest and on the occasion he gave details of the project for Beton hala, which many describe as a „floating cloud“, exclusively for EGO magazine. This is a redesign of Sava port, or a pedestrian zone that has the form of a huge, white vortex consisting of spiral paths, which lead to numerous shops and restaurants, and outdoor exhibition space, viewpoint and underground transit center. Fujimoto has also commented on his own philosophy, and the needs which the modern man seeks and receives from the architecture.
1It was a few years ago. I was wondering what the beginning of architecture is. It is usually made of functions and I think that’s fine, but what is about the function which is in the interaction between space and the body? I like to simplify complicated thinking and here’s an example. The nest is a careful design of birds and humans. Functional building is a kind of functional nest, cave isn’t designed space, it is given by nature, it is the refuge, and it is part of the landscape. The nest is created by birds or people, so it is the consequence of creating act. Designing a space requires a similar strategy. This is why I choose the nest before the cave.
2Yes, it is. Project for Beton hala looks like a bird’s nest. At first, I thought how to make a level which traffic moves at and how to make a level which people move in, because this area will be a great place to gather. Here you can find viewpoints and variety of places that intersect and lead to a central point where the people who arrived from different directions meet each other. This setting has led to the right shape for the object. The shape of the project is based on the study of movement patterns. Simple result emerged from the fact that you have to climb people up and drive them down from the top of Kalemegdan to the river.
3I am delighted with what I met during my first visit. The city is not too determined, it has a position on the various altitudes, with a lot of different environments. Compared with Tokyo, which is highly organized and too regulated, we have different sections here that are not strictly defined. It makes Belgrade to look more balanced, and this leaves a very good impression. I love Belgrade, it looks very exciting to me. It’s not like Paris, not like Tokyo – it’s a nice blend of civilizations, more precisely – something very unique.
4Project for Beton hala is a very nice challenge, it inspires me. The main scheme is set, it remains to form parts of functional areas such as viewpoints, cafes, museums, and these facilities will be further developed. Constant processes of upgrading are very exciting and it’s good to take part in such process. It doesn’t look like a mess, more like a spontaneous act, as controlled chaos. It’s exciting to participate in something like that, the energy that comes from such an act is very inspiring. It is necessary to find a balance between the different zones and to achieve a strong integrity of the object.
5New energy is a main point of our competition work. We aimed to make the space where architectural elements dance together. The idea was to create some kind of park of concrete ramps, so people can feel the energy of place. The main idea was that people experience space again, revealing it. The experience of space is the main motive that I want people to take away with them.
6[/dropcap3I don’t want to observe this building the artistic way, but more practical. Strategy that defines the functions is very active, it runs the entire zone between the old fortress and the river. A function is a major determinant of the project. One of the key issues is how to connect the two points at different altitudes, while keeping building integrity. I think we have finally achieved a good balance.
7The real mazes are frustrating. Open mazes, natural mazes are interesting. They can be observed as a field you constantly discover something in. People will come again and again and relive the urban experience through a variety of viewing angles, viewpoints, vacation spots and places where paths cross and people meet spontaneously. The project is composed of dynamic lines, but it isn’t meant for anyone to get lost in space, but to participate in the experience of space. During this experience where people are circling through ramps, new points will reveal and this experience will be all the more intense as you go deeper into the object zone.
8I think the architecture and design are two very social categories, while on the other hand an architect is an individual. My own „I“ is constantly looking for something new. I want to get inspiration from the existing situation and to find something all new that will take me to new achievements.
9I like to meet strong influences coming from other architects. Some of them, like Big, are my friends, and he has inspired me strongly few times. I love diversity and it inspires me. Sometimes I get surprised by other architects’ achievements, but we learn from each other. Each of these architects is a man of strong character, who leaves a trail in the architecture field. I really enjoy the diversity and experiences that come from it.
10The experience of building and space mostly depends on the light. During the design process, I was thinking how to block the sun rays and to protect the building from overheating. In different seasons, we’ll have a different sun impact on the building parts. The shadows will change and it will be very exciting. This is a very large facility, which includes a large cubic volume. One can see the sky and experience the sun through it. Ramps at a higher level protect lower ones from the sun. This is how the need for facility cooling is reduced. Shadow creates a shade and haven during the summer months. The position of shadows and their shifts throughout the day make the building more interesting and stimulating for research. The geometry of the building will be much richer when the first sun rays fall on it. Facility and the sun rays are interacting.
11I think the variety of technologies will determine future trends in architecture. Mobile technologies are changing everyday communication, and therefore the man. If a man changes, the architecture will change as well. It is always a question how to use specific technologies in other cultures, in other geographic points. What works in Germany cannot work in the same way in Japan. I think that different technologies from different areas create the future, respecting the people lifestyles.