Architecture Girl: Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center
Artist's notes on style, materials and inspiration:
Hands down my favourite Japanese architect, Kengo Kuma (born 1954) always makes the materials front and centre and his practice is always on the lookout for alternative materials to concrete and steel.
Built from 2009 - 12, the Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center stands just a little off directly opposite of Kaminarimon - the main entrance gate to Sensō-ji.
It houses a tourist info centre, exhibition space, multi-purpose hall/ theatre space and a conference room. Made to look like eight one story houses stacked on top of each other, each has its own roof - also reflected on the interior so you always feel you are inside a one story building. It never feels low because the heights vary, there are stepped areas and it has a very light and airy feel. The area itself is fairly low rise, and the 'stack' form of this taller building helps it to form a natural part of this lively shitamachi Tokyo district. The building has glass curtain walling with fixed wooden louvres along the outside of each floor - spaced differently depending on the shading and privacy required by each floor. Interior spaces are also timber clad.
The top-floor terrace and cafe has great views over the grounds of Sensō-ji and across the river to Skytree. If I'm in Asakusa I will always pop in - going straight to the top and then working my way down to see what else is going on.
This wood girl was made over several weeks, carefully considering how to portray the building on a curved surface and best share certain aspects of the building. Skytree is partially reflected on the side of the building from where Skytree is best viewed - even though the next door building would prevent some of this reflection in real life.
Turned from American Tulipwood, a sustainable and interestingly grained timber, the pieces are turned by a production wood turner in the UK to my designs, then painted by me, a British artist. Finished in a semi-matt acrylic protective top coat.
Approximately 20.5cm in height.
My pieces are painted in a naïve and simple style, with visible brush strokes and differing paint consistencies. It is important to note that these dolls are made from real wood which will have naturally occurring markings and grain, and sometimes there will be small amount of bleeding along the grain, or knots, which is to be expected when using untreated wood - please make sure you consult the pictures carefully before purchasing.
PLEASE NOTE: Wood girls should be kept away from water which can damage the wood and painted surface, and also away from direct heat/ sunlight which also can affect the surface colour and the timber itself.