13 August 2010
Hitoshi Abe launches book at RMIT Gallery
Gretchen Wilkins and Professor Hitoshi Abe at RMIT Gallery for the launch of Distributed Urbanism: Cities after Google Earth.
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Hitoshi Abe, regarded as among the most important architects of the current Japanese generation, has launched Distributed Urbanism: Cities after Google Earth, at RMIT Gallery.
Edited by US architect and RMIT University senior lecturer Gretchen Wilkins, the book asks what kind of urbanism does Google Earth produce?
Since 2007, Hitoshi Abe has been based in California, where he is the Professor and Chair of the UCLA Department of Architecture and Urban Design.
After obtaining his PhD in architecture in1992, he set up Atelier Hitoshi Abe in Sendai, Japan. He is known for work that is spatially complex and structurally innovative.
Professor Hitoshi is currently in Australia, where he has been speaking about his work, inspiration and vision for design futures.
"I’ve known Gretchen for a really long time and it’s a real pleasure to launch this book at RMIT Gallery," he said.
"Distributed Urbanism investigates three important issues; how cities are changing, how technology contributes to this change, and how architects are responding to this change through new types of practice.
"Collectively these stories about cities are a way to understand the technologies and practices that are currently shaping contemporary urbanism."
Ms Wilkins teaches in RMIT’s Urban Architecture Laboratory and is also co-ordinator of the World Architecture Workshop.
She became connected with Professor Abe through their mutual interest in the way cities are changing when she was Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan and Research Fellow at the Japan Foundation. She published a monograph on Professor Abe in 2008.
"It is fitting that Hitoshi Abe launched this book at RMIT Gallery, as a contributor and given his important work on the urbanism of Sendai, Japan," Ms Wilkins said.
"Putting the book together was a process of experiencing multiple cities virtually and understanding how open source free tools like Google Earth are used architecturally."
Distributed Urbanism’s collection of essays and projects, both imagined and real, compiles work by leading architects and theorists from a global perspective.
RMIT Gallery Director Suzanne Davies said it was vital that the creative arts were part of the ongoing debate about the way technology is changing the way we live.
"It is fitting that Distributed Urbanism was launched at RMIT Gallery, given the strong ties with the University’s architecture School and our history of architecture and design based exhibitions," Ms Davies said.