ArchiAid: Rethinking-Reconstruction

The Great East Japan Earthquake:

October 25 – November 28, 2013
Exhibition extended until january 5, 2014


Friday, October 25, 2013, 6:30 pm

Speaking at the opening:
Dr. h.c. Kristin Feireiss, Aedes Berlin
Takayuki Miyashita, Minister, Embassy of Japan
Prof. Hitoshi Abe, University of California, Los Angeles


On the occasion of the Aedes exhibition opening we cordially invite you to the public debate at ANCB:

ArchiAid: The Great East Japan Earthquake Recovery Program
Architects between Society, Design and Politics

Time: Friday, October 25, 4:30pm
Place: ANCB, Christinenstr. 18/19, 10119 Berlin

The dialogue will focus the challenge of the architecture profession to connect and moderate between technical, governmental conditions and cultural behavior related to environmental needs. Architecture and urbanism lead not only to a restructure of landscape and the built environment but also modify how they are experienced. It is therefore a matter of understanding what impact disasters have on architectural thinking and acting in comparison to changes in the cultural perspective of the relationship of nature and technology. Such changes can be understood only with respect to their social and political contexts. If architecture is about social dreams of a society and hopes for a better future - then one has to become aware of the global dimensions of disasters between modernization and the boundaries of human knowledge. The challenge of architecture and urban planning lies in these contradictory preconditions. What does it mean for architects to design in a society that seeks its balance between an increasing technologization at the one hand, and a deepening environmental awareness on the other?

Hans-Jürgen Commerell
, Director, ANCB The Metropolitan Laboratory, Berlin

Speakers - The Japanese architects involved in ArchiAid:

Hitoshi Abe, Professor and Chair, Department of Architecture and Urban Design, School of Arts and Architecture, UCLA, Los Angeles
Kazuhiro Kojima, C+A President, Professor at Yokohama Graduate School of Architecture (Y-GSA), Yokohama
Manabu Chiba, Professor, Department of Architecture, Graduate School of Engineering, University of Tokyo; Guest Lecturer, Art & Architecture School of Waseda University, Tokyo/Waseda
Senhiko Nakata, Associate Professor, Department of Design Informatics, Miyagi University, Miyagi
Osamu Tsukihashi, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Engineering, Department of Architecture, Kobe University, Kobe
Daniel Kerber, Founder, morethanshelters, Hamburg

Georg Vrachliotis
, Chair of Architectural Theory, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

The Debate is part of the ANCB program “Phoenix Reloaded: Rethinking Disaster Responses and Preparedness”.


Aedes Cooperation Partners


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  • Opening | Takayuki Miyashita, Minister, Embassy of Japan © Erik-Jan Ouwerkerk

  • Opening | Osamu Tsukihashi, Associate Professor, Kobe University; Hitoshi Abe, Professor and Chair, UCLA, Los Angeles; Kazuhiro Kojima, C+A President, Professor at Yokohama Graduate School of Architecture; Manabu Chiba, Professor, University of Tokyo; Senhiko Nakata, Associate Professor, Miyagi University © Erik-Jan Ouwerkerk

  • Exhibition View

  • Opening © Erik-Jan Ouwerkerk

  • Opening © Erik-Jan Ouwerkerk

  • Exhibition View

  • Opening © Erik-Jan Ouwerkerk

  • Opening © Erik-Jan Ouwerkerk

  • Exhibition View

  • Exhibition View

  • Opening © Erik-Jan Ouwerkerk

  • Opening © Erik-Jan Ouwerkerk

In the two and a half years that have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake, it is a relevant moment to look upon the progress of reconstruction efforts to date.
This exhibition will take a critical look at the reconstruction and recovery efforts by presenting the work of ArchiAid: a reconstruction support network of Japanese architects formed in response to the wide-ranging methods of official recovery strategies that largely neglect to consider the particular needs of individual communities and specifics of locality. Yet, locality and community are essential for the long-term stability of the population. Therefoer the ArchiAid initiative sees it as imperative to share the story of how various communities have dealt with the chaos, confusion and displacement following the devastation. This bottom-up network connecting the diverse reconstruction activities of these autonomous and decentralized architects, offers effective methods for rebuilding the region, as well as a new means for architects to engage with society. This exhibition introduces the diverse reconstruction activities and strategies of distinct architects working across the region who operate through the ArchiAid network.
ArchiAid is headed by a steering committee that includes; Hitoshi Abe, Taro Igarashi, Momoyo Kaijima, Nagisa Kidosaki, Kazuhiro Kojima, Kaoru Suehiro, Akira Suzuki, Masashi Sogabe, Masayoshi Takeuchi, Yoshiharu Tsukamoto, Osamu Tsukihashi, Hirokazu Toki, Senhiko Nakata, Shoko Fukuya, Ryuji Fujimura, Yoshihiro Horii, Tohru Horiguchi, Masashige Motoe, RyoYamazaki and Tomohiko Yamanashi. As of March 2013, ArchiAid’s membership consists of 300 people committed to the long-term reconstruction and regeneration effort in disaster areas including many of Japan’s prominent educators and leading architects, such as Toyo Ito, Kazuyo Sejima, and Kengo Kuma. It also includes the engagement and involvements of over 15 universities.

Unlike a metropolitan disaster that strikes a population and economy center, the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami affected an extremely expansive 500 kilometers area in Northern Japan. Lining the coast, these small, community-based areas received additional catastrophe on top of already weakening economic strength from depopulation, and a growing number of elderly, thus exacerbating pre-existing problems and casting the future of this entire region in a precariously critical state.

In this kind of situation, the advancement of stopgap recovery measures applied to each area cannot bring about a return to pre-disaster conditions. Rather, it is necessary to focus on the rebirth of industry and reorganization of the region and offer a broad-based, comprehensive recovery strategy for the future. As an architectural approach, it is essential that efforts respond to the individual characteristics of the affected areas while being compatible with the varying problems in process of providing solutions.

Thus it is important that the continuous reconstruction activities of this truly huge number of architects operating at the grass roots level, engages with each of the diverse sites in the region in a personal and restrained way. Large-scale reconstruction that is systematized in a top-down frame tends to neglect the unique and special needs of each region. In response, the richly manifold and guerilla-like small reconstruction actions of Japan’s architects, who spread across the regions and operate autonomously, show the real possibilities of alternative reconstruction strategies.

This Exhibition design is inspired by the installation of the photographs at the Yuriage Elementary School gymnasium by many volunteers. In the disaster, family albums were scattered across the affected area. Damaged by seawater, these photographs were washed and dried on nets stretched across a room and displayed in a way so that the owners of the photographs could find them. This exhibition is homage to that installation that deeply comprehends the devastation of the disaster and the profound efforts of the Japanese people.


UCLA Paul I. and Hisako Terasaki Center for Japanese Studies, Japan Federation of Construction Contractors, Japan Foundation, Tchoban Foundation


Diese Ausstellung wurde ermöglicht mit der großzügigen Unterstützung von: