Ala Champ


In The Quiet Backstreets Of Kyoto's South Higashiya, Find A Master Craftsman


On The Outskirts Of Central Tokyo Discover True Wellness, And A Spectacular Infinity Pool

Serpentine Pavilion 2022

Artist Theaster Gates Designs the 21st Pavilion


Argentinian-Australian Designer Alexander Lotersztain's Ode to Brutalism

Serpentine Pavilions 2000-2021

A Champ Online Retrospective Of Two Decades of The Radical Architectural Event


The Art Gallery of South Australia Presents Japan's Avant-Garde Ceramics


The Beauty Of Indian Textile Craftsmanship In ISSEY MIYAKE Sub-Brand HaaT's SS22 Collection


End Of An Era For Japanese Architect Kisho Kurokawa's 1972 Metabolist Structure

MIROKU Nara by The Share Hotels

A Sense of Natural Calm At This Design Hotel in Nara, Designed By Keiji Ashizawa & Fumihiko Sano


Melbourne's Bright, Young and Radical Chef Addressing Food Waste through Fermentation


The London-Based Photographer On 'The Beauty Of Unexpected Moments'

MAME KUROGOUCHI Fall Winter 2022

Finding the “Presentness of the Past” in Nagano’s Nature And The Rich History of the Jōmon Period

ISSEY MIYAKE Autumn Winter 2022/23

Designer Satoshi Kondo Embraces The Beauty Of Untamed Nature In 'Sow It and Let It Grow'


“Nature Controls Herself. I Try To Let Nature Speak.”

UNDERCOVER A/W 22-23 Womens

Cold Flame: Designer Jun Takahashi Explores An Inner Rebellion With Punk Femininity In All Its Forms


An Impressive Luxury Boutique Hotel Designed by Tadao Ando Positioned In The Heart of Kyoto's Gion District


Junya Ishigami Designs A Gravity-Defying Pavilion As Spatial Experience

May, 2022
KAIT Plaza, Atsugi, Kanagawa, Japan ©︎ Joanna Kawecki / Ala Champ

On the far outskirts of Tokyo in the neighbouring Kanagawa prefecture, lies an extraordinary structure defying gravity and any preconceived notions of shelter and architecture.

Located on the University grounds of the Kanagawa Institute of Technology, KAIT PLAZA is 50 x 80m pillarless pavilion designed by Kanagawa-born architect Junya Ishigami. The structure was designed with a 12mm-thick iron plate roofing that expands and contracts in varying seasons — a feat of structural engineering likened to that of suspension bridges. Kait Plaza features 59 rectangular apertures allowing all the elements of nature — rain, wind, insects — to enter the space. Any water is instantly absorbed into the permeable asphalt flooring and collected in a tank below, then released into the surrounding garden. Ishigami intended the space to be versatile, offering a spatial experience with emphasis on how time should be spent, rather than how the space should be used.

Complete in 2020 and opened to the public in 2021, advance reservation is required to visit due to being situated on the university’s private grounds. Tokyo-based Ala Champ Editor In Chief JOANNA KAWECKI visited the site, noting its overwhelming expanse when experienced in person. “I personally love how the sloping roof creates varying horizons, providing either a feeling of solace or sense of unity depending on where you’re positioned. Standing in one area, the sloping roof blocks any view of others allowing you to feel as though you’re the only one in the structure, yet on the other hand, standing near the centre it provides an all-encompassing view of everything around you. Including the depth, tension and grandeur of the space.”

Tokyo-based Champ Editor In Chief Joanna on the site visit at KAIT Plaza, Atsugi, Kanagawa, Japan ©︎ Joanna Kawecki / Ala Champ
KAIT Plaza, Atsugi, Kanagawa, Japan ©︎ Joanna Kawecki / Ala Champ
KAIT Plaza, Atsugi, Kanagawa, Japan ©︎ Joanna Kawecki / Ala Champ
Architectural Drawing, KAIT PLAZA, Junya Ishigami (2020) Kanagawa, Japan
KAIT Plaza, Atsugi, Kanagawa, Japan ©︎ Joanna Kawecki / Ala Champ
KAIT PLAZA, Junya Ishigami (2020) Kanagawa, Japan
KAIT Plaza, Atsugi, Kanagawa, Japan ©︎ Joanna Kawecki / Ala Champ
Site Plan, KAIT PLAZA amongst the Kanagawa Institute of Technology grounds | By architect Junya Ishigami of Junya Ishigami & Associates (2020) Kanagawa, Japan

Text & images: Joanna Kawecki

For more destinations in Japan, click here.

May, 2022