Julian Worrall is an Australian architect and writer based in Tokyo since 2000. He is Associate Professor of Architecture and Urban Studies at Waseda University's Institute for Advanced Study, and runs the research-based design practice LLLABO, dedicated to "distilling the logic and magic of the Asian metropolis."
For Julian Worrall's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Feb 13, 2016
In an era of relentless urbanization, global travel and weightless images, the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale has pioneered a ground-breaking model of place-based art curation that aims to cast a little edifying rural grit into the oyster of contemporary urban affluence. Centred on a declining, depopulating mountainous area of Niigata Prefecture around Tokamachi city, the project aims to bring people, energy, ideas, money, and ultimately pride to the region, using contemporary art as its chief instrument.
Jan 30, 2015
Today, Japanese contemporary architecture enjoys an outstanding international reputation, but the story of its emergence to a position of such accomplishment and acclaim has not yet been told comprehensively. A pair of exhibitions at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa presents a postwar history of Japanese architecture — "Japan Architects 1945-2010" — and the tendencies that are gathering momentum now and will shape the future — "Architecture since 3.11."
Aug 29, 2014
The news that the Hotel Okura in Tokyo will be redeveloped in time for the 2020 Olympics has been greeted with dismay by surprisingly far-flung and influential group of admirers — an indication of the status of clientele that has patronized the hotel since it opened in 1962, U.S. President Barack Obama recently among them.
Jun 16, 2014
The Venice Architecture Biennale, first staged in 1980 and recurring every two years, has grown to become the world's largest and most influential gathering of architectural thought leaders. The event has come to be seen as providing a global snapshot of contemporary practice and as a weather vane of emergent currents. Yet for Rem Koolhaas, the curator of this year's Biennale, which opened June 7, these characteristics are precisely the ones that he has sought to disavow.
Apr 28, 2014
Architects often claim to be deeply concerned about protecting the distinctive soul of places and regions, which would seem to imply that architects should stay close to their roots. Yet the export of architectural services and the global circulation of architects has never been higher. This paradox provides the backdrop to today's column.
Oct 28, 2013
Jul 29, 2013
Kenzo Tange, one of the most significant Japanese architect of the 20th century, was born 100 years ago this year. Tange spent much of his childhood in Imabari, Ehime Prefecture, on the Seto Inland Sea, and all of the most significant of his early works dating from the 1950s, from the Hiroshima Peace Center to government offices in Takamatsu and Kurashiki, are dotted around the region.
Nov 10, 2011
Staging an exhibition of architecture, perhaps more than any other art form, demands a curatorial grasp of space-making. In the inevitable absence of the built reality, stand-ins in the form of drawings, models, photographs and film are drafted in to explain and evoke architectural ideas and experiences. While often interesting in themselves for their graphic, sculptural or material qualities, these things bear the pathos of being forever subordinate to their absent referents.
Sep 29, 2011
The word "fukkō" ("reconstruction") — is once again in the air. Ubiquitous during the postwar period, it enjoyed an earlier vogue a generation before as Tokyo was rebuilt after the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923. But while the word may be the same, its meaning and spirit changes from era to era. A new exhibition at the Mori Art Museum in the Roppongi district of Tokyo gives a visceral sense of just how substantial such generational shifts can be.
Sep 15, 2011
As the last of the debris is cleared from the Great East Japan Earthquake and plans are drawn up to reconstruct the devastated towns and communities, architects and planners are pondering not just to how replace what was lost, but how to improve upon it. With fortuitous timing, Tokyo this September is hosting a feast of architectural exhibitions and discussions looking to the present, the past, and the rest of the world for ideas and inspiration by which to rebuild Japan for the better.
Nov 26, 2010
Art, it is often said, is a lens through which to see the world differently. "Differently" could mean more intensely, or more clearly, or in a new and unfamiliar way. This inevitably requires a separation between the artwork and the world. Art so understood thus sets up territories and borders, the lines that define where the ordinary world ends and the art one begins. Mostly, this is straightforward enough: A painting has its frame; a sculpture its plinth; even in the more challenging categories of installation and performance art these boundaries are typically that of the space that the artwork and its audience occupies.
Aug 20, 2010
"When I was 40, my father died. When he died, he was working on a project for a children's campground on the island of Naoshima. When I returned from Tokyo to Okayama to lead the family company, I inherited the project. As I lived and worked with the locals, my thinking went through a 180-degree reversal. I realized that my life in Tokyo, which seemed so full, had in fact been impoverished, and everything that was meaningful was right here in the Inland Sea."
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