Holcim Foundation


Atelier Bow-Wow’s relational approach

Capturing new living behaviors and phenomena in the built environment

The work of Yoshiharu Tsukamoto and Momoyo Kaijima at Atelier Bow-Wow has always aspired to capture contemporary behaviors in the process of formation, anticipating emerging realities in the city and then translating them into forms and programs. Momoyo Kaijima was a member of the LafargeHolcim Awards jury in Asia Pacific for the first time in 2011, the year after Atelier Bow-Wow had published their highly influential Behaviorology.

The word “behaviour” includes human behavior inside and outside of the building, physical phenomenon produced by different environmental elements such as light, air, heat, wind, and water in architecture, and building’s behavior in its surroundings. “Architectural behaviorology” aims to understand the behaviors of those different elements, and to synthesize them to optimize their performance in its specific context. It could be new definition of “what is organic” in architecture. After singing the praise of typically Tokyoite small-scale structures, which they like to refer to as “pet architecture”, the outstanding duo had once again won fame through the publication of a book mixing disciplines.

BowWow-Biennale2016-02.JPGIn addition to architecture they explore anthropology and psychology. For the office, such hybridization is the source of a new narrative and energy. By choosing to study human behavior inside a building, they are extending beyond the quantitative aspects of construction. In fact, Atelier Bow-Wow advocates relational aesthetics instead of a visual approach.

Their adventurous spirit is what may have led them to work in the woodlands of Kurimoto, a rural region on the outskirts of Tokyo, which has been heavily affected by the decline of the forestry and timber industry, leaving behind a frail, overexploited landscape and depleted communities.

Blending environmental regeneration and social inclusion, Atelier Bow-Wow proposes a firewood supply plant that simultaneously repairs the damaged woodlands and provides a safe workplace for elderly and disabled urban citizens. Instead of offering charity or aid, Bow-Wow carefully studies the social and economic context, relentlessly seeking to turn problems into opportunities. Their work is like a finely tuned instrument that registers subtle changes in the social fabric. The work of Atelier Bow-Wow continues inside the Giardini’s Central Pavilion as part of the 15th Venice Architecture Biennale until Sunday, November 27, 2016.

Public invitation to attend panel discussion at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition

Newsletter201611-Reporting.jpgThe LafargeHolcim Foundation invites members of the public to attend a panel discussion featuring Alejandro Aravena, Jonathan Ledgard, Milinda Pathiraja, and Robert Mardini at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition on Friday, November 25 at 17:00. “Reporting from the Front: Sustainability vs. Security” is a concluding feature of the Biennale Architettura 2016, the panel will discuss how growing security concerns will add complexity to the challenges to which architecture must respond. More information:

Reporting from the Front: Sustainability vs. Security

Last Updated: November 22, 2016
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Venice, Italy
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