We've got hold of a good set of photos of Asphalt Spot, a landscape project in rural Japan by French architects R&Sie.
Set amid farmland in rural Japan, this small project is a bizarre hybrid of landscape art and infrastructure. It consists of a square, 20-space car park that looks as if it has been struck by an earthquake – its corners have been lifted into the air, its surface ripples and buckles and a great gash has been torn in its black asphalt surface.
Asphalt Spot was completed in 2003 as part of the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial 2003 – a cultural festival that saw 157 artists and architects from 23 countries produce 224 artworks in the Shinano Basin of Niigata Prefecture.
Despite being one of Japan’s main rice-producing regions the area has experienced severe depopulaiton in recent years and the triennal was intended to attract visitors to the region.
Designed by Parisian architects R&Sie, Asphalt Spot was commissioned by the Art Front Gallery in the nearby town of Tokamashi as an exhibition venue with integrated visitor facilities and parking. Yet the architects treated the project as an art installation itself, designing a structure that mimics the bumpy terrain and merges seamlessly with the surrounding landscape.
The building straddles a steep incline between a road and the lower-lying fields, creating a new topography linking the two levels. The undulating surface is even criss-crossed by fences similar to those used to divide fields.
Beneath one corner of the car park is a 300sq m open sided exhibition hall, which is used as a venue for art exhibitions. The hall is punctuated by a forest of leaning concrete columns that hold up the car park above and which have been covered in canvas sleeves, as has the underside of the ceiling.
R&Sie’s architecture often appears to have emerged from the landscape, consisting of forms that appear to drift or which mutate and clone elements found nearby.
Led by François Roche and Stéphanie Lavaux, R&Sie are firmly situated on the conceptual, experimental wing of the contemporary architecture scene. The office’s name is a pun on the word “heresy".
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