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Exhibition Designer Statement

Kazuyo Sejima

© Kohei Omachi


Since Kazuyo Sejima & Associates began work on Inujima in 2008, the island has been gradually transformed by learning from the island itself. It is an ongoing process that engages with the local community, nature, and the vernacular fabric of the island.

The first phase was a series of galleries distributed across the village, each with its own garden. Where possible, existing houses were renovated: the timber structures were restored, and the spaces opened to create a variety of relationships with the surrounding landscape. New transparent gallery spaces were also introduced, blurring the boundaries between inside and outside. The village itself becomes a museum and visitors are invited to discover both art and everyday life as they choose their own paths through it. While developing this series of public spaces Kazuyo Sejima & Associates observed how nature, building, people and history created a total environment on the island. They developed a form of architectural acupuncture that could transform the way it was lived.

Over time, Kazuyo Sejima & Associates began to imagine the program of the island could be extended, becoming a space for education. They organized a series of workshops, inviting students from around the world to learn about the community and care for the local environment through their involvement on Inujima. The projects extended into other parts of the landscape, sometimes simply by restoring a path to reveal a beautiful natural pool, or through active management of the bamboo forest. The diverse landscapes of the island started to come together as one. At the same time, they looked to create a collective space for residents by developing a community vegetable garden and kitchen.

The goal of the current phase of the project is to encourage visitors to lengthen their stay on the island. By consolidating both this new economy and a relationship between locals and visitors, it is hoped that the culture of the island will continue.

In this way, the many layers of Inujima become a humble form of architecture.

Kazuyo Sejima
Architect and Director, Kazuyo Sejima & Associates

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