Endo Shuhei, Paramodern Architect Francesco Dal Co (Architectural Historian)   Lightness and flexibility are frequently combined in the works of Endo Shuhei (b. 1960), starting with structures in his early period, built during the 1990s. This tendency was already visible in the Shino Toseki parking lot (1990) and the Azai-cho Culture Hall (1993), both in Shiga Prefecture. These were followed by Cyclestation M at the West Exit of Maibara Station (1994, Shiga), Healthtecture K, a combined residence and Oriental medicine clinic (1996,Osaka), Halftecture F at the Harmony Hall station on the Fukui Railway (1997, Fukui). It is, perhaps, most clearly visible in Springtecture H (Springtecture Harima, 1998, Hyogo). Using corrugated steel as in the Kitagawa residence and atelier Rooftecture M (2001, Fukui), Endo eliminated the distinction between frame and membrane, producing instead springlike forms—from a theoretical perspective, linking beams with multiple columns—and employing the same structural principles in most of the structures he created. Using continuous curved surfaces, he would first determine the exterior specifications required to enhance the stability of the structural components. See, for example, the guest house Springtecture B (2002, Shiga) and Rooftecture UU, the Ueda Brake factory in Okayama (2007, Okayama). By making the membrane shift to satisfy the necessary conditions for the structures and attaching distinctive names to each of his buildings, Endo defined and articulated paramodern architecture. As demonstrated by Rooftecture OS, the Restaurant PASSO (2012, Shiga), Endo has not abandoned this experimental domain. In recent years, however, he has also been searching for new paths. From this perspective Rooftecture M’s R (the Mori Jukyo, a 10-unit residential project, 2007, Osaka) deserve a particularly close look. While Endo continues to use corrugated steel, here its use is clearly only symbolic. It can also be seen as the result of taking to the extreme an experiment first conducted by the famous French architect-designer Jean Prouve. Other examples from his most recent projects reveal similar tendencies. Bubbletecture H (the Eco-Hyogo environmental experience museum, 2008, Hyogo) and the concept design for the new National Track and Field Stadium submitted to the international design competition (2012, Tokyo) both clearly display stylistic intersections with the work of Buckminster Fuller. By selecting clear examples from Endo’s works, we can arrive at a clear definition of what makes these works paramodern. While bearing the characteristic marks of his earlier experiments, more recent works display a standardization and stylization that are suitable for distinguishing his work from that of the “modern movement.”
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