The 10th issue of TOO MUCH: Magazine of Romantic Geography takes a deep dive into the idiosyncratic oeuvre of Schemata Architects, a Tokyo-based practice founded in 1998 by Jo Nagasaka.
In the previous issue of TOO MUCH, we saw how the growing Muslim population in Japan cleverly repurposes vernacular Japanese architecture as improvised places of worship. The decorative tokonoma alcove in an old wooden home becomes an ad hoc mihrab, while a water tank atop a former printing factory stands in as a qubba dome. Although minimalistic, these improvisations provide new contexts to spaces with an ingenuity and outsized emotional impact that seems a natural segue to Schemata.
Nagasaka refers to these dynamic spaces, constantly being reshaped by multiple perspectives, as “pluralistic architecture.” Schemata embraces open-ended designs, leaving room for inhabitants to adapt and even “misuse” spaces according to future needs. Its deliberately understated works are the manifestation of Nagasaka’s brand of “semi-architecture,” in stark opposition to doctrinaire architecture with a capital A.
Touring Schemata’s projects, past and present, we examine how Nagasaka brings his pluralistic philosophy to bear on preexisting spaces and witness how design can take on an autonomous life of its own. Above all, Schemata invites us to see architecture and design in a romantic new light, steering us toward a new experience of space.
This volume is also the second installment in “Work,” a TOO MUCH series that focuses on how individuals transform the landscape through a novel use of biological, psychological and social resources.
292 pages, 182 × 257mm, Softcover,