Meet Koichi Takada, the architect striving to bring nature back into urban spaces

The sculptural walls in the National Museum of Qatar Gift Shops in Doha evoke a cave-like atmosphere. Credit: Tom Ferguson
The sculptural walls in the National Museum of Qatar Gift Shops in Doha evoke a cave-like atmosphere. Credit: Tom Ferguson
A champion of ecologically sensitive design, architect Koichi Takada draws inspiration from nature while simultaneously trying to protect it. A new, thoughtfully curated book helps illustrate Takada’s work and ethos.

The pandemic and subsequent lockdown measures have been a catalyst for many people to reconnect to the natural environment. For innovative architect Koichi Takada, though, this kind of connection has been an ingrained ethos for many years.

The gentle timber curves of Takada’s CAVE restaurant project, a stylish Sushi Train in Sydney’s Maroubra. Credit: Sharrin Rees

Born in Japan and based in Sydney, Takada is part of a new generation of architects striving to bring nature back into the urban environment, and his projects prove that the celebrated creative is achieving his goal. Such projects can be found within the pages of a new monograph, showcasing a series of Takada’s works. Beautiful photos of buildings and interiors juxtapose against sketches and images of nature, illustrating the aesthetic inspirations behind Takada’s designs, and the way they embody nature’s elements.

Due for completion in 2024, Brisbane’s Urban Forest is on track to be the world’s greenest residential property. Credit: Binyan Studios

An essential volume for anyone with an interest in contemporary sustainable architecture, KOICHI TAKADA: Architecture, Nature and Design depicts the unique way Takada connects the natural and the designed, and how this has evolved over the last 10 years.

Philip Jodidio’s accompanying text guides readers through the range of spaces that span from the award-winning National Museum of Qatar in Doha and the acclaimed Urban Forest in Brisbane, to striking buildings in Sydney, Melbourne, Los Angeles and Tokyo.

Arc in Sydney is one of Koichi Takada’s signature projects, made up of two, 26-story, 80-meter-high towers. Credit: Tom Ferguson

Of his professional philosophy, Takada says: “Post COVID-19, we are more conscious of living healthier and we believe integrating nature is the key. By observing nature, there is a lot we can learn. Our purpose is to create nature inspired architecture for a better and more sustainable world. We turn to nature for inspiration to improve the human quality of life in our cities and for the future generations.”

The fluid balconies of the Upper House project in Brisbane offer an extension of private living areas while also boasting optimal views. Credit: Binyan Studios

A 20-storey mixed-use residential building, Brisbane’s Urban Forest is a striking example of Takada’s talent. The living facade will feature 550 trees, plus 25,000 plants selected from 251 native species. The ambition is that Urban Forest will become the world’s greenest residential building, with a 6-star Green Star rating. Construction is due for completion in 2024.

In Melbourne, this zero-waste pop-up restaurant was inspired by the paperbark tree. Credit: Sharyn Cairns

In Doha, the interior design of the National Museum of Qatar (NMoQ) has the Takada mark of sustainability. Taking inspiration from Jean Nouvel’s architecture, the interiors draw on the desert landscapes, history and culture of Qatar. Of particular note, the museum’s retail spaces are inspired by the 40-metre-deep ‘Cave of Light’, located in the centre of Qatar.

They feature 40,000 individual pieces of sustainably sourced European oak, assembled by hand to create an incredible rib-like steel structure.

KOICHI TAKADA: Architecture, Nature and Design, published by Rizzoli, is distributed in New Zealand by Bateman Books.

KOICHI TAKADA: Architecture,Nature, and Design by Koichi Takada and Philip Jodidio © Rizzoli New York, 2021.



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