Curtain Courtyard

The Tokyo Institute of Technology organised an architecture competition asking for a pavilion that could accommodate informal meetings in the central courtyard of their main building as part of a strategy to improve campus life. The winning proposal however questioned the idea of adding an architectural object and opted instead for a spatial intervention somewhere between architecture, garden and public space design.


The main elements of the installation are two translucent curtains with a total length of 90 meters. The curtains hang from curved rails that sometimes delicately enclose protected trees and sometimes radically cuts through the existing greenery when necessary to create an intimate meeting space. The curtains and three circular benches – diameter: 6 meters – form a spatial intervention in the rectangular Neo-classical courtyard. The curtains transform the symmetric courtyard into a place where no two spaces are identical.


Besides the spatial transformation, the flexibility in use is an key element of the intervention. The curtains can be opened completely for major public events that require unhindered passageway and they can be closed completely to create enclosed spaces for informal gatherings.


Location: Tokyo, Japan

Client: Tokyo Institute of Technology

Program: Gathering space, Public Space

Area: 1.100 m2

Competition: 2002, 1st prize.

Status: Project completion 2003

Project team: Jarrik Ouburg, Mark Veldman

Consultants: Tokyo Institute of Technology