Cook & Hawley

Client / Sponsor:
International Garden & Greenery Exposition, General Committee, Tokyo, Japan

Co-ordinating Architect:
Arata Isozaki & Associates

Site Architects:
Kazuhiro Ando, Fumihiko Akaboshi

Tokyo Construction co. Ltd / Armec Arts & Mechanism Design Office.

Construction: 1990

Gross Area: 39m sq

The idea of the folly came from the desire to see what contribution might be made to the garden by contemporary architects. Our construction was one of the thirteen placed not in the usual verdant landscape but at a cross-roads plaza within the Expo site. The folly traditionally has no functions but an implied narrative and for our sources of references we looked at the physical phenomena in front and behind the site. In front was a panoramic view to the lake and most of the design stemmed from this association. The folly has two conditions, the first is an austere metal facade that faces a busy public concourse; every two minutes a body of water disgorges from the base of the structure moving a thin yellow wand across the steel skin. To understand the mechanism, the public have to enter the body of the structure. The small internal corridor reveals a large glass plane, the second condition, over which a thin veil of water periodically runs. The water is collected in a pebbled trough beneath the transparent walkway and then in to a hopper from which the collected body of water is then be tipped through the facade. The person who enters becomes part of the event. Once inside, the folly invites the user to view the lake, the focus of the exhibition. The structure with its enigmatic front and its disclosing back offers a moment of calm in an otherwise hectic experience. The purpose of the folly was to go beyond the practical object and contribute to the surrounding public space.