A Japanese Constellation: Toyo Ito, SANAA, and Beyond focuses on the work of architects and designers orbiting Pritzker Prize winners Toyo Ito and SANAA, on view from March 13 to July 4, 2016. MoMA’s first presentation dedicated solely to Japanese practitioners, the exhibition spotlights a small cluster of contemporary Japanese architects working within the larger field, exploring their formal inventiveness and close professional relationships to frame a radical model of practice in the 21st century. The exhibition’s 44 projects represent a diverse range of work, from small domestic projects to museums. Presented in models, drawings, and projected slideshows, the work highlights the architects’ significant structural innovations and use of transparent and lightweight materials, while foregrounding their commitments to the social lives of their buildings, reviving a social conscience that characterized earlier avant-gardes. Drawing on Japanese material traditions, the exhibition design uses soft partitions of semi-translucent fabric, which act as surfaces for multimedia and provide an immersive visual experience. A Japanese Constellation is organized by Pedro Gadanho, former Curator of Contemporary Architecture at MoMA, and current Director of the Museum of Art, Architecture, and Technology (MAAT) in Lisbon, with Phoebe Springstubb, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Architecture and Design, MoMA.
A Japanese Constellation offers a retrospective of recent works by three generations of internationally acclaimed designers, including Toyo Ito, Kazuyo Sejima, Ryue Nishizawa, Sou Fujimoto, Akihisa Hirata, and Junya Ishigami. With its idea of a network of luminaries at work, the exhibition is intended as a reflection on the transmission of an architectural sensibility, and suggests an alternative model to what has been commonly described as an individuality-based “star-system” in contemporary architecture. Offering a panorama of established and up-and-coming architects, the exhibition reveals how shared architectural themes travel across generations of architects, creating a strong identity for a regional practice with global impact. As many of the featured architects have been involved in the reconstruction of Japan after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, the exhibition further reflects how the architecture field is responding to societal change with a combination of strong aesthetic positions and a commitment to users’ emotional needs. A Japanese Constellation is separated into six intersecting spaces, but begins with a display of models, drawings, and digital films by the six architects in a space adjacent to the exhibition’s entrance.

A Japanese Constellation: Toyo Ito, SANAA, and Beyond
March 13–July 4, 2016
Architecture and Design Galleries, third floor