by Erin Cuevas (MArch II ’16)
The proposal in Tokyo addresses the duality between Kawaii and Kowai — two Japanese words with similar phonetics, but opposing meanings. Kawaii denotes a purity, innocence, and femininity, while Kowai, on the other hand, denotes fear, danger, and perversity. The architecture provokes the overlapping of Kawaii-Kowai in terms of social interaction and subjective perceptual experience. Layers of concrete delaminate to enclose product showrooms, and a series of varied apertures allow for dual peepshow-panopticon interactions surrounding a central atrium. The design embraces human and architectural alias, translating space into profitable advertisement, ultimately integrating architecture into a feedback system where immaterial culture is both consumed and produced simultaneously.