Closing Event: Lecture by Momoyo Kaijima


We are happy to welcome Momoyo Kaijima here in the HCU Atrium. Momoyo Kaijima founded Atelier Bow-Wow, a Tokyo based firm, in 1992 with Yoshiharu Tsukamoto. Yoichi Tamai joined the studio as partner in 2015. The practice has realised houses, urban interventions and public spaces in Japan, Europe and the United States. Its publications include the Pet Architecture Guide Book, Made in Tokyo, Graphic Anatomy 1 and 2, Behaviorology and the Window Scape Series. All of them are books one should not just read but bring to work – full with methods, tools, theories and discourses to reorganise what’s what in Architecture. Thank you for being here.

Hi, this is Momoyo Kaijima – nice to meet you. Today I would like to talk about Atrium Behaviorology. Why behaviorology? The very simple answer is: We live. We have a life, which is to be continued, we are breathing and performing activities. And why the atrium? The atrium has been the space for multiple aspects of life since Roman times.

Today, I think this particular typology was created here to achieve a specific goal for the HafenCity University. However, the summer school’s question is: What happens here now? Behaviorology is always about life in different aspects, for example human behaviour – I behave, I breathe, I walk, I study or I sleep and so on. That is the first thing. The second thing is, we have light, wind, many climate issues, temperature, hot or cold, air blows – all these things are always present and these conditions compete and negotiate, like temperature, and also the sunlight coming from the east and west and so on. So - these kind of movements affect space. The third thing is architecture itself. As I mentioned before, the atrium, is a strong typology of space, translated from the roman period. So to understand what this means for us, we have to ask why and how we should or could continue to realise this typology today. This kind of typological aspect – the genealogy of space or the genealogy of architecture – offers a very important discourse or a platform for architecture and urban planning. These three things constitute a frame of study for Behaviorology and we used these three frames together with the students to observe behaviours in the atrium during the summer school.

Before my lecture Dominique and Lisa talked about how the students performed this kind of research and explained how we can record movements. Mostly, different behaviours occur time after time according to different conditions. Consequently we need a method to record how changes occur time after time. One method could be the drawing. Architecture students, architects, artists, urban planners or designers are capable of drawing their ideas. However, by drawing we can represent observations. That‘s why in our studies [with Architectural Behaviorology] we are producing several drawings. Through making drawings, students can create feedback from the drawings themselves. The drawing tells to ourselves what we observe. We can draw by hand or by thought. Facing drawings, observations and thinking creates a feedback loop, which makes us more conscious about what is important for us, for oneself, the methods and the meanings of space. This kind of loop can be very prolific for a development of our thought.

In the focus of changing patterns of our lives, Behaviorology is related to ethnography. Each area or each specific space is used by a different member or a different citizen or a different group of people. We want to know about a common sense between these people or members. Insights from ethnographies or the application of an ethnographic method will help architects to understand how they can transpose this common behaviour into the design of space. If we want to contribute to a conceptional practice about »common space« we might look at hybrid common spaces and ask what the frame of the common is and what social group is behind these common spaces.

It is very important to think about this kind of relationship between the common and people or society, this kind of relational study, in terms of ethnography. We tried to test this methodology in this atrium.

At the end of the week we installed several kinds of places. During the workshop we found a lot of interesting aspects like sounds. For example this atrium echoes very strongly, because of the hard materials which surround it and several different levels of activities [feeding the sound of the atrium]. The echo announces disturbances or collaborations of different actors. Students transposed the observation of these behaviours into the radio format including the radio station. The delay you are hearing listening to my lecture is a very interesting effect. It is in the same space, yet not in the same time. For me, this is a very interesting affection.
[Showing behaviours on a drawing] This space follows certain time lines. In this case, the people have a table and they eat breakfast on the table. They are very close to these people, but different activities happen. They share some moment. This is also very interesting. The atrium has a lot of light but we don‘t have any water supply. That is why students use a special machine to water the plants. Where is this special machine now? Leonie [HCU students assistant and related to AStA at HCU] stores it in the AStA offices. I like this machine. This machine is a very important instrument to connect the plants to the people.

Sometimes this atrium gives too much light on sunny days. Sometimes these Banana leaves give beautiful shadows for the people. This kind of relationship happens in the atrium.
Originally, the Atrium is a kind of meeting space, a space enabling exchange, in which different actors like plants, air, light, the smell of food and many more of these kinds of things create a more habitable situation and somehow increase the comfort of the space. One important thing is coffee. Students proposed coffee to go. Very, very simple, just put ground coffee in a coffee machine and, in result, this space suddenly plays a different role. I think it is very important to enable play with different roles in the same space. And coffee produces a very nice smell as well.

We expected to enable this kind of diversity of space as much as possible and as long as possible. Unfortunately, after one week, many of the plants were taken out because of a cleaning procedure and also because of new programs scheduled. The atrium should be open to everything. That‘s why some of our instruments were taken out of the space. That‘s why we couldn‘t continue this experiment until today, unfortunately. But I think this is also an interseting element in the testing condition of our summer school.

This is the end of my lecture, so thank you very much.