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Osaka Expo 2025 architect Sou Fujimoto: Expo site will be a place where people see future positively

09:15 | 05/01/2022

(Construction) - The design of facilities for the 2025 Japan International Exposition (Osaka-Kansai Expo) is currently being carried out. 

Architect Sou Fujimoto, who has served as Expo Site Design Producer of the event, says that he will appoint young architects to design small-scale facilities among the venues of various sizes. "I would like to make the Expo site a place where the future can be viewed in a positive way.”

osaka expo 2025 architect sou fujimoto expo site will be a place where people see future positively
Architect Sou Fujimoto

What is your impression of the cityscape of Osaka?

It is very attractive that the waterfront area is accessible and the canals and the sea are interconnected. There is an emotional relationship among people, which seems to drive the society. Osaka has a 'human place' that is full of warm sentiments, and I feel that this is linked to the bustle of the city.

Has your impression of the city and its people changed since you became the producer?

Unfortunately, I have not been able to go out or attend meetings as often as I hoped due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, since the master plan for the Expo was announced in December 2020, I’ve had opportunities to explain the plan to many people, and I've gotten the feeling that everyone is supporting the event. People in Osaka value relationships with each other and the society moves with its dynamism. It's very human and modern.

In other cities, such as Tokyo, the social structure is complex, and the system has been built accordingly. People interact each other digitally in the modern society. It's certainly a convenient world, but I feel that we need to take back an atmosphere which gives an emphasis to the human relationships, and drives the whole society built upon those relationships. In the future, a richer society will be created when people are connected to each other, resonate with each other, and accumulate diverse talents. You could say that human relationships in Osaka are modern and essential. These characteristics of the city and the Expo are likely to work together harmoniously. I am looking forward to it.

Can the Expo be a catalyst for change in Osaka?

We will plant trees and greenery as much as possible. I've heard that the city of Osaka is lacking in greenery. I hope that the Expo will create a momentum to introduce more greens in the environment. The more trees the community has, the more comfortable it gets to walk around, and the more activities people gets engaged in. The more people walking around, the more stores on the streets, and the more vibrant the whole city can be. I hope this virtuous cycle will bring a change to Osaka.

The designers of many facilities have been chosen since the beginning of the year. I am directing the designers and the association so that they can work comfortably and share the vision. I am in the only position that can see the whole picture from a bird's eye view, so I am actively working on it. Regarding the grand roof I designed, I am working closely with the architects and the association. I would like to commission design works of small-scale buildings such as restrooms and rest areas to young architects. We are looking forward to the wonderful and interesting proposals from young talents. The eight themed pavilions will be designed by different architects. The eight producers, Site Management Producer Masaru Ishikawa, and I are regularly exchanging opinions. The themed project area is the core of the Expo in terms of ideology and experience. It is exciting to discuss the significance of the Expo, and we feed back the outcomes to the venue planning.

What kind of ambitious plans do you expect from the designers of the Expo facilities?

I hope the pavilions would be an experimental field for new ways of using and creating wood, natural and recycled materials. I am also looking forward to seeing the synergy of architectural and digital spaces interacting. Many new technologies will be introduced in construction as well. I think it will be an opportunity for process innovation.

What would you like to convey to people in Japan and abroad?

I want to make the Expo site to be a place where people can think about the future positively.  People can expect to see and feel a vision of the future unique to the year of 2025. The Expo is a special event where countries and cultures from all over the world gather in real life. That is what makes it worthwhile and exciting. Various countries bring the diversity and resonate with each other. I believe that the Expo site would be a special place to feel it in the first-hand experience. (2021/12/24)

The Daily Engineering and Construction News of Japan (Construction) - The design of facilities for the 2025 Japan

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