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Atelier Bow-Wow: Small Case Study House

Atelier Bow-Wow, Life Tunnel (2008), site-specific installation

Working as Atelier Bow-Wow, Tokyo-based architects Yoshiharu Tsukamoto and Momoyo Kaijima explore the use and function of space within urban environments. Their newly commissioned project for the Gallery at REDCAT, titled Small Case Study House, is the culmination of an extended residency period in Los Angeles researching the Case Study House program. This is Bow-Wow's first solo exhibition in the U.S.

In the wake of the Second World War, the renowned Case Study House program marked a fertile period of experimentation in Southern California architecture. The program enlisted then-unknown architects to design and build low cost housing using pre-fabricated materials left from the war industry. Initiated by John Entenza and Arts & Architecture magazine (now defunct), the program becomes a point of departure for Bow-Wow's thinking about domestic dwellings.

Informed by the basic principles of the CSH program and on their research visits to CSH houses with their class of architecture students from UCLA, Bow-Wow's installation will respond to the contemporary forms of the house--relating it to economic and ecological conditions, ideas of customization, and what they refer to as "architectural behaviorology."

Small Case Study House presents three microstructures--BBQ house, sunset house and hammock house--as models whose forms are dictated by specificity of use, environmental context and human engagement. All structures are built with salvaged wood, from deconstructed homes in the Los Angeles area, supplied by the non-profit organization ReUse People. In a rampantly consumer-based society, Bow-Wow's project quietly questions the ecological problem of excess and waste while reactivating architecture's rudimentary functions of shelter, sustenance and play.

In the late 1990s, Bow-Wow developed the term "pet architecture"--a style of small, ad hoc, multi-functional structures makes the most of limited space found in densely developed cities such as Tokyo that often integrates need, improvisation and ingenuity. For more than 10 years, Bow-Wow has also created "micro public spaces," using the framework of art galleries and museum spaces to experiment with structure, movement and function. Their body of work, which includes over 20 detached houses built in Japan, is characterized by an innovative method of examining and intervening in urban space. Their practice relies as much on observing, studying and teaching as designing and building.

Atelier Bow-Wow was established by Yoshiharu Tsukamoto and Momoyo Kaijima in 1992. Tsukamoto (b.1965, Kanagawa, Japan) graduated from the Tokyo Institute of Technology where he is currently an associate professor. Kaijima (b.1969, Tokyo) graduated from Japan Women's University. She is currently assistant professor at Tsukuma University and has taught at ETH in Zurich. They have also taught at UCLA and Harvard University. In addition to numerous building projects, Atelier Bow-Wow has participated in the 2008 Liverpool Biennial, 2008 Venice Architecture Biennale, 2007 Sâo Paulo Bienal, 2006 Busan Biennale, Echigo Tsumaari Art Triennale in 2003, 50th Venice Biennale (2003) and the 2002 Gwangju and Shanghai Biennales. Their work has also been included in group exhibitions at The Hayward Gallery, Walker Art Center, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo City Opera Gallery, and the New National Museum in Berlin.

This exhibition is made possible by a generous grant from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. Additional support provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The Nimoy Foundation and the Japan Foundation. Free gallery admission underwritten by generous support from Ovation TV. The Standard is the official hotel of REDCAT.

Admission to the gallery is always free
Gallery hours: noon-6 pm or intermission, closed Mondays
Visit www.redcat.org or call +1.213.237.2800 for more information

REDCAT
631 West 2nd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012 USA

Last edited by Smith on Aug 25, 2010
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