The Cloud Pavilion by Sou Fujimoto: the Pavilion Tokyo 2021

For architect Sou Fujimoto, the clouds are the source of inspiration as something almost infinitely vast that embrace many, many elements. They also have a fascinating structure: A cloud definitely has interiors, but it does not have exteriors. That uniqueness allows elements that constitute a cloud to be vast, three-dimensional, complex, dynamic and ever changing. You cannot “build” clouds even if you wanted to, so they represent almost impossible dream for architects.

But that didn’t stop Fujimoto from aspiring to design pieces of architecture that are like clouds. For the Pavilion Tokyo 2021, Fujimoto asked a question: “If clouds were big roofs that covered the entire Earth and embrace every country, every region and everyone on it, can you design a piece that represents the cloud-ly open-ended tolerance that welcomes diversity?” The answer was the “Cloud Pavilion.”

The Pavilions were installed in two locations: the Yoyogi Park and Takanawa Gateway Station. Although they are in a completely different environment (one is outdoor and the other is inside a building), they still dissolve into the surroundings and welcome everyone who visits them. You can enjoy the different look/feel, in the same way that clouds look different depending on where you are or when you see them and in what kind of weather.

One is installed at the Yoyoki Park (above), and the other is installed at Takanawa Station (designed by Kengo Kuma).

Fujimoto often uses the term “primitive future” to describe what he believes the future of the architecture can or should be. The “primitive” world is governed by the law of nature which is overwhelmingly vast, complicated, dynamic, transient, embracing and as beautiful as clouds.