Booth Fellow opens gallery exhibition "Both/And"

Booth Fellow opens new gallery exhibition “Both/And”

No matter how much one has been taught about a building, nothing compares to the experience of personally visiting a captivating architectural site. Chris Holzwart (M.Arch.’11) received such an opportunity thanks to Taubman College’s George G. Booth Traveling Fellowship.

Insights @ Taubman College: Booth Fellowship Exhibit from Taubman College on Vimeo.

Holzwart won the fellowship in 2013 and set off to Japan for four weeks to explore his interest in architectural detail. The fruits of his experiences and intensive research can be explored in the current exhibition on display in the Taubman College Gallery titled, “Both/And: The Study of Details in Japanese Architecture.”

Holzwart kicked off the exhibition opening with a lecture on October 2nd, entitled, “The Evolution of the Architectural Detail and Its Embodied Form in Japanese Architecture”. The lecture had an inviting, reminiscing quality, and his observations and photography of his time in Japan made for an engrossing narrative.

Highlighting an inspirational Tadao Ando quote, where the famed architect stated, “You cannot simply put something new into a place, you have to absorb what you see around…and then use that knowledge along with contemporary thinking to interpret what you see,” Holzwart noted his interest in smaller scale work, and “to architectural detail as a complete inversion of scale.”

During the lecture, Holzwart proceeded to outlined three categories of details he worked to define: construction, design, and design-performative. The first expresses the necessary components of describing something architecturally, the second deals mainly with ornament, while the last represents a hybrid of the two. With these principles in mind, Holzwart gave a tour of the ten different locations he visited in Japan.

Tokyo gave Holzwart a taste of Kisho Kurokawa’s Nakagin Capsule Tower, FOA’s Yokohama International Port Terminal, Kengo Kuma’s SunnyHills dessert shop, and the Prada Store by Herzog and de Meuron. Of these, Kuma’s work – specifically the cladding detail on the building’s unique skin – impressed Holzwart the most since it embodied the very ideal that drew him to Japan in the first place. While FOA’s Terminal proved fascinating, though “a little disappointing in the level of detail.” Other highlights were trips to the Tōfuku-ji Buddhist temple in Kyoto, with elements “that make you think of old Japan, where it’s rooted, where its designs come from,” and to Osaka, to visit Tadai Ando’s ethereally beautiful Church of Light.

The lecture concluded and guests were welcomed to sushi and the opening of Holzwart’s exhibition. “Both/And” runs from October 3rd to November 2nd in the Taubman College Gallery. For more details on his travels abroad as the George G. Booth Fellow, visit his travel blog at: