JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles has announced plans to reopen virtually on October 24 with the launch of Windowology: New Architectural Views from Japan, an exhibition from the Windows Research Institute. Founded in 2007 under the axiom that “windows represent civilization and culture,” the Tokyo-based foundation first launched an early iteration of Windowology in 2017 as a traveling exhibition/architectural research project to commemorate its 10th anniversary. The fenestration-celebrating exhibition has since been retooled for an international audience.
For its JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles debut, Windowology was initially slated to open as both a virtual experience and at the cultural center’s multi-level gallery space at the Hollywood & Highland complex. However, an uptick in COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles County has prompted JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles to push back its onsite physical reopening to a later date. When that does happen, Windowology will continue to run as both a traditional gallery exhibition and in an immersive online format complete with exclusive video content and a navigable 3D tour.
(Of the three JAPAN HOUSE locations, all founded as part of a global initiative led by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Hollywood and São Paulo branches remain temporarily closed to the public while the London hub reopened in July and has since launched a new exhibition, Architecture for Dogs.)
While Windowology, a research project in which windows are quite literally framed as cultural objects, commenced well before the coronavirus pandemic, glass-fitted openings have taken on a whole new relevance in this current moment—gazed longingly out, boarded up, opened with increased zeal, swapped, populated with statements, and used as a portal to connect, hand-on-hand, with those who we love and have been forced to remain physically separated from.
“Windows are one of the most important elements in architecture. They function to connect the outside and inside worlds, opening and closing as required,” said architectural historian and exhibition curator Igarashi Tarō of the Windows Research Institute in a statement. “During times of crisis, windows reveal much about culture and humanity. As we restrict our activities and stay in our homes for longer spans of time, we spend many more hours in front of the ‘windows’ of the new era such as our personal computing devices, which offer hope in an alternative state of connectivity. But actual windows also have played a unique role during this crisis in ways that often express the richness of the world’s diverse cultures, such as singing opera to each other across balconies in Italy and sharing messages of gratitude with medical workers through windows.”
Consisting of photographs, drawings, film, architectural models, manga, crafts, statistics, and original artwork by installation artist Tsuda Michiko, the exhaustive and meticulous—and like its parent foundation, slightly eccentric—Windowology is thematically organized around the relationships between the exhibition’s titular architecture feature and ten different aspects of Japanese culture: Windows on Craft, Windows on Art, Windows on Film, Windows on the Environment, Windows on Magna, Windows on Teahouse, Windows on Stories, Windows on Words, Windows on Motion, and Windows on How We Live Now.
Following its October 24 launch, JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles will host Windowology-related events throughout the duration of the exhibition. And, as mentioned, the announcement of an opening date for the onsite exhibition, originally slated for October 17, is forthcoming.
“We, like the rest of the world, have watched the role windows play in connecting us with our neighbors. They allow us to see the world outside, as well as the world inside,” said Kaifu Yuko, president of JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles. “We hope this exhibition inspires people to take a deeper look at the many ways windows impacts their lives.”
In addition to the upcoming launch of Windowology, JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles is currently running a social media contest, #TinyArchitect – Architecture is Everywhere in collaboration with Tokyo-based Sou Fujimoto Architects.