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Toyo Ito and Masato Araya's Experiements in the Structural Use of Aluminum


Aluminum is a widely used material offering many advantages when used in buildings. Supply has dramatically increased with better recycling practices. With this in mind during the 1990s, Japanese subsidies targeted exploratory development of new uses for aluminum in buildings. This paper reviews innovative aluminum developments by Japanese architect Toyo ITO and structural engineer Masato ARAYA. With strong industry support, the two professionals designed and built five free-standing aluminum structures: a house, a dormitory, a cottage, an exhibition kiosk and a pavilion. Teaming up with several different industry partners both at home and abroad, Ito and Araya explored a variety of formal approaches. Their work received numerous awards and accolades and was in some cases patented. However, in the end the structures the two professionals built remain unique.

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