Tsingpu Baisha Retreat by Tsutsumi & Associates

In this interview, we talked to Yoshimasa Tsutsumi, of Tsutsumi & Associates, about Tsingpu Baisha Retreat, their 2018 Architectural Design/Restoration & Renovation award-winning project.

Tsutsumi & Associates was established by Yoshimasa Tsutsumi in 2009. He was born in Fukuoka in 1978 and graduated from the University of Tokyo in 2003. The main awards which he received are JCD Design Award GOLD prize, Ryue Nishizawa prize, DFA award, APIDA award, A+D China award etc.

The brief for Tsingpu Baisha Retreat was to connect the past and the future. First, we made the various platforms to view the beautiful snowy mountain then, secondly, we covered them with the traditional roofs of surrounding villages. The intent to use traditional materials in a new way, such as Dongba paper and Wuhua stone, was a major challenge to the process.

I believe the contrast of newly-stacked, massive stone volume at random, along with the traditionally curved roofs, represents the most outstanding and innovative feature of the project. I am most proud of the fact we can enjoy the view of the snowy mountain from many places, with the old villages and also our new buildings visible and adding to this.

I decided to become an architect simply because I enjoyed handcraft since childhood, and also I want to study and know various subjects. I realised architecture represents a “total work of art”. My biggest influences and people I admire in my field are Peter Zumthor, Kengo Kuma, Terunobu Fujimori, and Wang Shu, as well as others!

In the near future, I believe we won’t need to settle down in one place, as we can now do so many things by mobile working. I would like to have several small houses and studios in many scenic places, working between them like a nomad, with my mobile. I believe this would be a rich life. I also believe that mobile technology will have the biggest impact on our discipline in general. I don’t trust the informatization of architecture itself, but its involvement with architecture is changing how we work — with mobile capabilities, now we can solve very many things without moving.

I believe we can only design for our clients, sometimes to surroundings and those who already believe in our philosophy. Our designs maybe have a ripple effect on society or the world, but I believe it to be limited. I think it can be dangerous to think we architects can change the world like the demiurge.

I’m very honored to receive this award. I hope more people see our projects and visit our projects. Of course, it is the best to have new projects all over the world.

Many thanks to Yoshimasa Tsutsumi for answering our questions and demonstrating how the ability to be mobile, to work on-site — or anywhere — is already having an effect on the world of architecture and design which, as he points out, will only increase in time.