The Australian Design Centre in Sydney is hosting an exhibition to showcase the works of Japanese architect and late 20th century pioneer of digital design, Shoei Yoh.

Part of a research collaboration between academics from the School of Built Environment at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and the Faculty of Design at Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan, the Revisiting Shoei Yoh exhibition marks the launch of the online Shoei Yoh Archive and also draws from it to present Yoh’s canvas of work through archival architectural drawings and photographs as well as new 3D scanned animations and digitally fabricated parametric architectural models.

Yoh’s exhibition traces a trajectory of experimental design practice across five buildings completed between 1979 and 1994. While the Kinoshita Clinic in Fukuoka, Japan from 1979 reflects Yoh’s early interest in material technology, the Music Atelier (1986), Oguni Bus Terminal (1986), and Oguni Dome (1988) tell the story of his significant contribution to the modernisation of timber architecture in Japan during the 1980s. The Naiju Community Centre (1994) represents Yoh’s most radical architectural endeavour, bringing together locally grown bamboo, hand-weaving construction techniques, and advanced computer analysis to realise a complex geometric form in bamboo and concrete.

The Music Atelier and Oguni Bus Terminal were prototype projects to test the possibilities and performance of non-standard three-dimensional timber truss structures using a combination of locally grown old and new cedar. These projects paved the way for the building of the Oguni Dome (1988) that became the first and largest, free span three-dimensional timber truss structure in Japan.

The online Shoei Yoh Archive hosts a repository of newly digitised archival assets in an immersive 3D spatial environment developed from 3D scans of the Naiju Community Centre in Fukuoka, Japan. The archive, which is populated with drawings, digital model files, photographs, project notes, architectural magazines, and physical models from Yoh’s architectural office, is an ongoing project.

The Revisiting Shoei Yoh exhibition is on at the Australian Design Centre, Sydney until 25 January 2022.

Images by Reece McMillan