■ Report 閉じる

Lithuania-Japan Architecture Event "EAST-EAST"
By Jurate Tutlyte

Ph.D Candidate
Faculty of Arts, Vytautas Magnus University (VMU), Kaunas


In July/August 2002, the joint event of the Japanese and the Lithuanian architects took place in Kaunas, the second largest city in Lithuania. For the first time, a group of most celebrated Japanese architects, lead by Mr. Fumihiko Maki, visited the Baltic States.
The idea to bring Japan (in the East of Asia) and Lithuania (in the East of Europe) closer and to initiate direct dialog among architects was initiated two years ago and coordinated by the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Mr. Dainius Kamaitis (Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania to Japan in Tokyo). The "idea" became "reality" with fruitful cooperation with the Japan Institute of Architects (JIA) and special efforts of Mr. Taro Ashihara, its Vice President. The UIA Congress 2002, which took place in Berlin from July 22 to 26, became an added motive for the Japanese to take visit Lithuania. In its turn Architects Association of Lithuania Kaunas Branch and Kaunas City Municipality helped the organization of the event.

The were three parts to the event of the "East-East": a joint exhibition of Lithuanian and Japanese architects (07.30 - 08.13.2002), the public seminar (07.30 - 07.31.2002) and the student workshop (07.27-08.01.2002).

July 30 was the opening day of all the main public events. The day began with seminar sessions in the morning, followed by the announcement of students' workshop task and formation of groups in the afternoon, and climaxed with the opening of exhibition inaugurated by Mr. Fumihiko Maki in the M. Zilinskas Art Gallery. The day's events were completed with a special dinner reception, hosted by the Mayor of Kaunas in the Town Hall with formal greetings and informal discussions provoked mainly by reflections of the open seminar.

The second day was featured by Mr. Valdas Adamkus, the President of Lithuania, welcoming all the members of the Japanese delegation at the exhibition, accompanied by the Charge d'affaires of Japanese Embassy to Lithuania, Mr. Eizo Kaneyasu, expressing his rejoices over the newly established relationship among the Japanese and Lithuanian architects.

The two-day seminar was dedicated to the key subjects aimed at the present day transformations in the architectural culture. The seven "samurais", as they so wittingly called themselves, consisting of Chiaki Arai, George Kunihiro Kengo Kuma, Taro Ashihara, Tetsuo Furuichi, Koh Kitayama, Hidetoshi Ohno, and the group of Lithuanian architects and theorists, consisting of Tomas Grunskis, Vytautas Petrusonis, Jonas Audejaitis and Jurate Tutlyte discussed about "new program", "building types", "order" and "material". The Japanese architects mainly presented their creative works featuring the origins of ideas. Lithuanians, on the other hand, focused more on theoretical reflections and generalizations. The Keynote speech, delivered by Mr. Fumihiko Maki, attracted the greatest interest of the audience. Mr. Maki introduced the trends of contemporary architectural trends of Japan, along with the presentation of particularity of his projects. Mr. Linas Tuleikis, the president of Architects Association of Lithuania Kaunas branch, then took the podium in a responding talk. Mr. Tuleikis discussed the regional and national aspects in contemporary architectural practice in Lithuania, raising a question, whether or not, globalization influence Lithuanian architects.

Globalization and national identity became the leading subject of the subsequent seminar discussions growing out of the initial search of differences and similarities between two cultures of the "East". The discussions crystallized main ideas about globalization as the inevitable reality and the necessity of preservation of the national character. It also revealed delicate differences in cultural perception. Japanese tradition and national identity become clear to lie somewhere within, at the very heart of a man and his emotional-aesthetical charges. Thus, the architectural culture, initially, seems to follow the truth of environmental, social existence and not a visual flight. Lithuania appears to be on its way to discover and identify, that, its architecture is more expressed by highly budgeted aesthetic-formalistic solutions and overwhelms the socio-cultural based projects. The content of the joint exhibition clearly disclosed this idea.

The differences, in a way, are rooted in Japanese and Lithuanian architectural educational systems. The evidence of this argument could be seen in the students' workshop "Intervention in a City". All in all, 36 students (18 Japanese, 18 Lithuanian) worked together in 6 groups from July 27 through August 1, 2002. The students modeled their ideas about how to turn the City to the rivers. Situated on the confluence of two rivers, Kaunas has no contact with the water. Students' task was to choose a site and propose an archi-furniture - a functional public space object - on the chosen location. Final results should be considered as very successful, despite difficulties in integrating different ideas as well as generating motivation among some of the participants. Within a very short period of time (only 3 days), students managed to prepare brilliant presentations and create original ideas in hopes of arousing the interest of the city officials to look seriously into turning Kaunas to the rivers in near future. Behind the scene, it was evident that, the Japanese students were more oriented towards conceptual thinking and Lithuanians towards strong technical skills.

The official part of the "East-East" was, simultaneously, accompanied by the informal events which brought both sides together ever closer. The striking similarities between Japanese and Lithuanian traditional buildings were discovered during the trip to Lithuanian open-air folk museum in Rumsiskes. There were genuine interests of visitors towards Trakai National Park, the castle and the traditional architecture of Vilnius city, the capital of Lithuania. Thoughts of the visitors were focused in the neutrality of contemporary Lithuanian architecture and the criticism towards possible image of the future skyscrapers of Vilnius induced by the architects' search of national character.

The visit to the Chiune Sugihara Memorial Museum in Kaunas and the ideas about its renovation seems to be the most realistic bridge connecting the two cultures in the nearest future.

Along with all other wordless experiences - the rhythm of dancing felt in some evening party, identifiable emotional charges, level of inner openness- the two cultures became one in the "Eastern" love for architecture.


Additional Information:

EXHIBITION "EAST-EAST".

Japan - Taro Ashihara, Chiaki Arai, Tetsuo Furuichi, Nobuaki Furuya, Kazuo Iwamura, Atsushi Kitagawara, Koh Kitayama, Kengo Kuma, George Kunihiro, Hiroshi Naito, Tadasu Ohe, Hidetoshi Ohno, Ken Yokogawa.

Lithuania - Vilius Adomavieius, Audrius Ambrasas, Art?ras Asauskas, Gintaras Caikauskas, Darius Ciuta, Gediminas Jurevicius, Algimantas Kancas, Audrys Karalius, Sarunas Kiaune, Kestutis Kisielius, Sigitas Kuncevicius, Saulius Mikstas, Gintautas Natkevicius, Rolandas Palekas, Saulius Pamerneckas, Kestutis Pempe, Ramunas Raslavicius and others.

STUDENTS WORKSHOP:

Jury: Chiaki Arai, Taro Ashihara, Tetsuo Furuichi, Koh Kitayama, Hidetoshi Ohno, Jonas Audejaitis, Loreta Janusaitiene, Rimantas Giedraitis, Alvydas Seibokas, Linas Tuleikis

First Prize Winner - Project "Tunnel": Io Kato, Shunsuke Tomida, Hiroaki Kishimoto, Tomas Kucinskas, Aureja Leskauskaite, Eivaras Rastauskas

Second Prize Winner - "Parazit"; authors Naoyoshi Hasegawa, Atsushi Kawasaki, Kotaro Tonouchi, Daiva Sereikaite, Ausura Siaurusaityte, Sigita Norviliute.

Third Prize Winner - "Magic boxes"; authors Yusuke Kaneko, Koichi Sugaya, Vilda Masonaite, Martynas Nagele, Andrius Aluzas, Edgaras Lepeska, Gediminas Kezys.

閉じる
(社)日本建築家協会  The Japan Institute of Architects (JIA)
Copyright (C)The Japan Institute of Architects. All rights reserved.