explore kengo kuma’s wooden architecture through the lens of erieta attali

Woodscapes photo exhibition by Erieta Attali

Woodscapes is a photo exhibition by Greek-Israeli architectural and landscape photographer Erieta Attali, dedicated to the wooden architectural works of Kengo Kuma. Currently on display at the Byzantine Museum in Athens until October 31, 2023, the exhibition captures the essence of Attali’s personal connection with architecture, through a collection of fifteen photographs.

The photo series shows Attali’s perspective on architecture and photography as constantly changing interconnected experiences. Unlike commercial photography, which focuses on documenting newly completed buildings as objects, Attali’s art comes from a deep connection with the entire body of work by a single designer. She aims to capture the unique atmospheres that appear across different projects, spanning from the distant corners of Japan to the heart of Paris’ city center.

explore kengo kuma's wooden architecture through the lens of erieta attali
Albert Kahn Museum, Boulogne-Billancourt, France | all images ©Erieta Attali , all projects ©Kengo Kuma & Associates

Blending Spaces & Environments in kengo kuma’s Projects

Woodscapes is the second exhibition by Erieta Attali at the Byzantine Museum in Athens, following her successful photo exhibition titled ‘Limina’ in 2021. The photographer has emphasized the significance of her collaboration with the Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, a relationship that has played a pivotal role in her career. Attali and Kuma share a common objective of harmonizing architectural designs with their natural surroundings.

Kengo Kuma’s architectural designs blend large glass panels with creative interpretations of traditional Japanese wooden structures. These spaces visually and experientially adapt to the natural surroundings, creating a unique atmosphere. Attali’s photography perfectly complements Kuma’s work, as she uses analog cameras to capture the interplay between natural and human-made environments. Her layered images merge solid and reflective surfaces, emphasizing the atmosphere as a fundamental element of Kuma’s architectural artistry.

explore kengo kuma's wooden architecture through the lens of erieta attali
Grand Morillon Student Housing, Geneva, Switzerland

Attali’s Fascination with Kuma’s Architecture

Attali initially saw Kuma’s architecture through a photograph taken by another photographer, specifically, the image featured Kuma’s famous Water/Glass House in Atami, Japan. This iconic structure, characterized by the interplay between transparency and opacity, significantly influenced Attali’s own photographic style. When she finally had the opportunity to visit the Water/Glass House during a trip to Japan in 2001, Attali was captivated by Kuma’s ability to seamlessly integrate modern architectural design with the natural environment. This convergence of contemporary and historical elements resonated deeply with Attali, who had already been exploring similar themes through her photography of ancient archaeological sites. 

This experience marked a turning point for Attali as she focused on capturing the juxtaposition of modernity and tradition, using her camera to immortalize the ephemeral atmospheres that Kuma’s manipulation of glass and timber created. In an interview with historian and critic Ariel Genandt, Attali reflects on how the encounter with Kuma’s work had a transformative impact on her. ‘What fascinated me in the Water/Glass House was that the building is experienced like atmospheric conditions: when inside it, one feels part of the landscape…. My encounter with the house … helped me crystalize a particular photographic notion where architecture and landscape are continuous.’

explore kengo kuma's wooden architecture through the lens of erieta attali
Glass House in New Canaan, USA

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