Observing Light | KAIT Plaza

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We took advantage of an unexpected opportunity to visit Junya Ishigami's Kanagawa Institute of Technology's plaza before it closed for the final stage of completion. Upon entering the plaza we were immediately struck by the incredible lightness of the column-free space. Designed as a versatile semi-outdoor communal space, the plaza serves as a venue for the university’s various events as well as providing students with a much needed break-out space.

Within the open undulating plaza, the floor and roofline follow the terrain’s natural topography. Impressive internal horizons appeared to playfully shift within the structure. The perceived horizon between ceiling and floor gave way to a horizon between floor and wall as we made our way across. 


Thus the natural changes perceived by the body become the architectural scenery.”

Junya Ishigami

Day lit by 59 square openings in the ceiling, the space transforms depending on the time and weather echoing Ishigami’s desire to achieve a closer connection between the human body and its environment.

We observed the subtle play of light transition from sharp focused squares scattered over the floor to more softer patterns as clouds passed overhead.

The process of passing time becomes the subject.”

Junya Ishigami

The sense of openness of KAIT’s Plaza creates a calm environment for students. It was interesting to observe how the space was used and how people interacted with light on our visit. 



Junya Ishigami worked with Kazuyo Sejima from 2000 to 2004 at SANAA, before establishing his own firm in 2004. Compliment this Journal post with a look at our visit to Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa/SANAA's "Architecture and Environment" exhibition in Tokyo last year.