Creativity Starts with Giving Up -Kenchikushi 6.2020

原文で表示 (日本語)

Cover: This is the construction site of a Japanese restaurant in the capital city of Kampala.
Design:Ikko Kobayashi + Fumi Kashimura / TERRAIN architects
Photo:Timothy Latim

Carpenters and masons (bricklayers) are working at the same time.

Once we become accustomed to a life where the flow of people and goods is the norm, we feel inconvenient and uneasy the moment when the flow is interrupted. In Japan, with its advanced distribution system, various things are planned based on the assumption that there is no interruption in the flow of foodstuffs, building materials, and human resources, but in Uganda, things are flowing with interruptions everyday, making construction sites always unpredictable and full of thrilling events.

In all the sites we have designed and supervised, we have learned to “give up”. No matter how much research we do at the design stage, we can’t feel secure until we have seen with our own eyes the materials delivered to the site and the work is actually being done. There was no such thing as a “plan” on the job site, and everything we had envisioned would fall apart one after another. No matter who we are to blame, the situation will never get better. We will have to admit that we were foolish to expect it. It is the only thing we could do: to give up first, then redo the idea that was really feasible.

The choice of materials and appliances for construction is particularly difficult and unpredictable. One of the reasons for this is that there are almost no domestically manufactured products such as iron and steel materials, resin-based off-the-shelf products, sanitary and lighting fixtures, etc. Sometimes a sales representative from a sales agency will come to sell a product, but when we are about to use it, we are told that the product will be delivered in one month because it is out of stock. After we wait for a month, we are told to wait for another month. It is not easy to obtain nails and bolts of the same specifications. In many cases, we ran out of stock in the middle of construction and had to search over the town for them.

In the beginning, the expectations were high and the damage was great. However,”giving up” is the beginning of ingenuity. If you can’t get the “thing”, then make it from scratch! Fortunately, local carpenters and welders will show us new ideas in sketches and models, and then they will work with the materials available in the area to create something creative. Their strike rate and their precision is not very high, but sometimes they create things that far exceed our expectations. This is the kind of creativity that comes from “not having things”.

When planning and creating doesn’t work, it’s a great opportunity to think and come up with better ideas. Needless to say, architecture is a collection of “things”. How are these “things” made and why are they there? This unpredictable situation makes us look at the origins of things we never thought about before, and gives us an opportunity to think about them.

Shops around town selling nails, bolts and tools.

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