10 subway stops east of Shinjuku, there’s something never seen before: Reversible Destiny Lofts Mitaka – In Memory of Helen Keller is a housing complex made of 9 apartments and built in 2005 in the Mitaka neighborhood in Tokyo metropolitan area. The bold colors are the first thing that strikes the sight: red, yellow, green, electric blue, light pink, orange… 14 different colors, inside and outside, always the same. And the next thing is the agglomeration of unusual forms, some spheres, cubes, some balconies, one upon the other.

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The artists-architects who designed the lofts are the visionaries Shusaku Arakawa and Madeline Gins, who created also a specific term to describe themselves and their work: they both were coordinologist, that indicates a person who synthesizes art, philosophy and science to implement creative action. They strongly believed in the great potentiality of the human body, and the ability to encourage you to keep the balance in the space. It’s what they called procedural architecture, an architecture of precision and unending invention, an ongoing work in progress. Works of procedural architecture function like well-tooled pieces of equipment that help the body organize its thoughts and actions to a greater degree:

“The living body is in desperate need of an architectural context within which to demonstrate right on the spot its capability as a whole.”

Reversible Destiny Lofts Mitaka is a very experimental project: the design is based on the study of the body and the perception, and the whole living space depends on the body movement, to feel good. For example the floor is not flat, it’s bubbly, lumpy, and at first dangerous: but if you think of our feet, there’s no straight lines, so why the floor should be flat if a little bubble fits better the feet arch?

No doors inside the apartments, and no floor lamps or closets, everything is thought to be hung on the ceiling, and to be movable, so everyday you can change and reinvent the space. All the apartments are completely available to rent: 6 of them for long stay, and 2 lofts for short stay on Airbnb platform.

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Shusaku Arakawa (1936-2010) and Madeline Gins (1941-2014) met in 1962, and worked continuously together. In the 70s Arakawa was an international acclaimed artist of the New York scene, and Madeline started her career as a writer. Their countless creative works and projects include The Mechanism of Meaning, eighty paintings and theoretical writings that laid the foundation for their philosophy of procedural architecture, and the Site of Reversible Destiny YORO, a public project commissioned by Gifu prefecture completed in 1995, ten years before the Lofts.

Reversible Destiny Lofts

For a group or private architectural tour, please contact Mr. Takeyoshi Matsuda c/o ARAKAWA+GINS Tokyo Office, Reversible Destiny Lofts MITAKA #101, 2-2-8 Osawa Mitaka-shi Tokyo 181-0015 Japan – info@architectural-body.com

© all the pictures Margherita Visentini – interiors taken in Kehai Coordinating Unit No.303

Reversible Destiny Lofts Mitaka – In Memory of Helen Keller, created in 2005 by Arakawa and Madeline Gins, © 2005 Estate of Madeline Gins.