Kazuyo Sejima is well known for her contemporary buildings both through Kazuyo Sejima & Associates and as part of SANAA. Sejima was recently one of eight Japanese architects invited to participate in Pavilion Tokyo 2021 by designing a temporary pavilion in celebration of the Tokyo Olympics. Sejima’s design, Suimei, is a water pavilion that gently flows through a garden in Tokyo.
The pavilion’s name, Suimei, is a Japanese word referring to light shimmering on the surface of water. Fitting the beautiful name, Sejima’s pavilion features a thin water installation that reflects the garden and sky above and is slightly elevated above the garden floor. Delicate greenery is placed along the curving pavilion.
Suimei is located in the Hama-Rikyu gardens in Tokyo, which is an example of a daimyo garden, or a strolling garden centered around a pond, that was popular during Japan’s Edo period. Sejima describes that this garden type inspired her to consider water as a way to connect with both the park’s history and future.
“As for the installation itself, the stream of water on the grass seems to be stationary when viewed from a distance, but as one approaches it, it is possible to see that it is actually flowing quietly,” describes Sejima. “By appearing to be simultaneously fixed and constantly changing, the flow of water represents the past, the present, and the future.”
You can find more of these temporary pavilions by other contemporary architects on the festival’s website under Pavilion Tokyo 2021.