Thomas Daniell of FOBA (October 3, 2003)



Tim Durfee introduces Thomas Daniell of FOBA.

Thomas Daniell gives the history of FOBA, which was founded by Katsu Umebayashi in 1995, where Daniell is a partner. FOBA is a small firm of 12 individuals, which focuses primarily on residential projects. The company has developed a substantial body of research on the topic of the contemporary dwelling. Daniell serves as a professor at Kyoto University, serves as an editor for Architectural Institute of Japan Journal and Archis magazine, in addition to his involvment in the practice of architecture.

Daniell discusses the post-rationalized types of sculpting that are implemented at FOBA as design methodologies. These include extrusion, wrapping, “stacking things up,” and excavation of space. He further discusses these elements within the examples of FOBA projects. Specifically within the design of the firm’s office named “Organ.” which consists of one long hallway, and appended spaces. Daniell also discusses buildings as metaphors for periphery and context.

Daniell discusses the concepts and design methodologies within FOBA buildings. He discusses continuous space as a choreography and relationship to its context. He also mentions the Japanese concept of “oku”, which provides depth and layers to the interior of homes. As one moves deeper within the building, the more private the space becomes. He also discusses various projects as they relate to small spaces in Japan and how architecture was mediated within these spaces.

Daniell discusses concepts behind innovative housing strategies, utilizing shipping containers as homes. They have an outstanding reusable quality and flexibility. He described the city of Tokyo as a series of casually stacked boxes.

Daniell discusses the design of FOBA projects. He notes the difference between the cities of Tokyo and Kyoto, where Tokyo is a series of casually stacked boxes, and Kyoto is a gridded network of parks and gardens. Kyoto is known for its circulation paths and building mixed with landscape, and Daniell discusses that concept carried into their design concepts.

Daniell discusses the conception and startup of FOB Homes. He explained how culturally in his region, individuals looked for brand name assurance and discussed how FOB Homes established five different housing typologies that would be designed specifically based on individual family and site parameters. The common themes of these designs were spatial continuity, continuous space and receding architecture.

Daniell responds to audience comments.

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