University of Hawaii Manoa: Architecture School

Visiting Lecturers

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    Lisa Iwamoto

    By hsieh
    Apr 1, '13 12:41 AM EST

    Lisa Iwamoto

     A principal owner of her own company, Iwamotoscoth Architecture alongside with her husband Craig Scott, an associated architecture professor, used to work for big architecture firm, graduated from Harvard, received numerous awards such as Young Architects award from the Architectural League of New York, Lisa Iwamoto amazed and inspired me for the amount of achievement she get as an architecture and as a successful woman. Before the lecture, I did some research on her projects and I was really impressed by the diversity of form and shape, as well as the scope and the size of project that she worked and is working on. Through out the lecture, Lisa discussed the main theme of how project with different scale such as Installation, Building, and Speculation can relate to one another, that is no matter how big the scale is, architecture is the study of human interaction and movement, materialistic, solid and void, force and structure, forms, transformations, and  study of light, the interaction and responses to the surrounding environment.

          In addition to talking about her project, Lisa talked about different pragmatic aspects when working for different project. She made a very interesting point of group work. Although most of her project is worked by a group of people ranging from 5,10 or even to 20, it doesn't mean that they will always have to work together since each individual has different strength and weakness. Therefore, throughout the process, sometime the person most interested with the project would do pretty much everything. On the other hand, she always described some of the frustrated moment when they tested out the projects and it kept falling. She talked about how her team made a modern for a project 4 times and the models failed every single time. And yet, they didn't give up on these "unknown" moments. 

          Lisa started the first part of her lecture with the smaller scale projects, the installations. The project name mOcean clearly illustrated the concept of light volume through capturing movement using optic fibers, creating a special entrance for the party in a lobby for San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Contemporary Extension summer event. This project used digital technology to response to different movement as people circulated through it. In another installation project called Reef designed for the P.S.1 in a competition, which they didn't win, Lisa talked about how they tried to create a underwater environment for the party spaces by mimicking the shape and movement of corals. For this project they did a half scale model to really understand the whole design process and how light would actually be penetrated through the shade. 


     One the scale of buildings, Lisa focused on the concept of solid and void. My favorite project is the Goto Residence. Even though this is just a hexagon shape building located at a beautiful location with nothing fancy, I loved how the building is shape, how it create a connection of different part of the building by making the angle bigger than 90 degree, creating a more open feeling. The project considered different aspect of the buildings that I learned in my studio class, such as the location and orientation of the house based on the view and how to bring light and nature into the building by making a small porch yard in the middle of the building. Next I found the multifunctional platform of her Heavybit Industries project very interesting. Not only connected the the stairs, the platform placed at the center also function as a reception area, a lounge, a bar, a sitting place and yes, a platform. The whole building was designed based on the interplay of light and heaviness. on the second floor, a hanging semi transparent wall was installed which made out of 2 set of lines passing through each other, creating a private and open feeling. In addition to the architecture and the interior design, Lisa and her team also worked on installation for specific area of the building such as the hexagon light over the kitchen and the hexagon light made out of fabric installed on the ceiling of the conference room. Although this light made out of fabric, the way the connected to each other and stretched give us a feeling as if they are made out of hard materials. 

          Last but not least, Lisa introduced us to the bigger scale project, the Speculation. One project she mentioned the the Edgar Street Towers, which is a visionary design locate at lower Manhattan area, NY. The design of the project acts as the responds to the site on which it located, how it located on the street linking the fifth avenue with the tunnels coming from the other side of the city. The tower would stand on the opposite sites of the street and as they penetrate themselves through the air above, the two building would intertwined. They made series of model on the computer program to test out dozens ways of how the two building would twist together. What special about this project is that they actually applied the idea from one of the installation that they made with optic fiber twisting together. This is an example of how small scale project would transform and apply to the urban size architecture. 


    (Author: Liem Tran)

    Lecture given in Washington University in St. Louis

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Guest speakers visiting from different places coming together and lecturing about their projects, groups, and firms at the University of Hawaii Manoa: School of Architecture.

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