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Interview with Naoki Hashimoto, architect of the Osaka Expo pavilion



A circle of friends connected by gut touch! The “FIST BUMP” corner of the radio program “GRAND MARQUEE” features people who live and enjoy Tokyo in a relay format.

On September 7, architect Naoki Hashimoto, introduced by Shinji Kamijo and Hideya Fukushima of Kamijo & Fukushima Urban Design Office, will appear. Hashimoto, who is also in charge of the pavilion for the “Expo ‘2025 Osaka-Kansai”, was interviewed about how he became interested in architecture, his recent architectural projects, the story behind the pavilion, and the attraction he felt for the Tokyo Tower.

Influenced by parents to pursue a career in architecture

Celeina (MC): First of all, let me introduce my profile. I was born in Okazaki City, Aichi Prefecture. After graduating from Kyoto University, I went on to graduate school at the University of Tokyo. After that, he worked at the office of Jean Nouvel, a world-renowned French architect, and then at the office of Hiroshi Naito Architects before starting his own firm, Naoki Hashimoto Architects.

Takano (MC): You are a globally active architect, Mr. Hashimoto, but since you are the third architect this week, do you have any horizontal connections among architects?

Hashimoto: I think architects are actually a closed community. We don’t have many horizontal ties in our daily work, but once we work together, we often stay together for two or three years or longer, so I think that our relationship becomes deeper.

Takano: Do you play with Kamijo-san and Fukushima-san?

Hashimoto: It’s not good that I don’t get to play with them much (laughs). I know him well from my previous job, but we have been working together since I became independent, and we have been working together on projects for the past two or three years.

Celeina: As for your recent work, are you collaborating with Tamatsukuri Kindergarten?

©Ogawa Masaki
©Ogawa Masateru

Hashimoto: We worked together.

Takano: The design is wonderful!

Hashimoto: Thank you very much.

Celeina: I would like to ask how you first became interested in architecture, Hashimoto-san.

Hashimoto: I never had a chance to meet an architect, so now that I think about it, I guess it was my parents’ influence. My parents liked to make things. My mother did handicrafts, and my father sculpted as a hobby. Even though I was still in elementary school, I made New Year’s cards with my father every year using prints. I think that is how I came to like working with my hands.

Takano: Did you have a chance to start making three-dimensional buildings?

Hashimoto: I liked drawing and painting, but they were all extensions of creating. I went to university, and then, just like that, here I am.

Takano: I have looked at many of your architectural works on your website, and I think the curves in all of them are very beautiful. Is that something you are particular about?


Hashimoto: Yes. When I was a student, I made a crumpled one at first, but at that time, the senior female students in the same laboratory drew curves very freely and spontaneously. I admired that kind of honest line. I guess I started with the idea of drawing freely, without being too rigid.

Celeina: What are some of your recent architectural works?

Hashimoto: This year, I completed a village hall in Tambayama Village in Yamanashi Prefecture. It features a large roof made of wood. It is about a three-hour drive from Tokyo, and with only 530 residents, it is the least populated village in the Kanto region. It took about two and a half years to complete the project, after having been selected through a proposal process.

© Makoto Yoshida

Takano: Can I ask what you were particular about?

Hashimoto: There are only 530 people in the village, so I tried to create a place that would make people say, “This is my home, this is my place,” which is a bit different from the image of the town hall where we live.

Takano: At first glance, it looks stylish, but it has a bit of warmth to it. Is that part of the point?

Celeina: When you built this building, did you start by interviewing the people of the town and the town office?

Hashimoto: Of course, there are projects like that, but the proposal method is a system in which architects submit proposals to each other before engaging in dialogue with the local people. Therefore, there are many aspects that we have to imagine and create, and only after the project is selected can we finally have a dialogue with the local people. But this time, because of the Corona disaster, it was very difficult to communicate with them.

Celeina: But in the midst of all that, you did a wonderful job of architecture.

Takano: I would love to go to Yamanashi to see this.

Hashimoto: There are many very delicious foods this fall season, such as maitake mushrooms and gibier. Please visit.

Celeina: Maybe you are a gourmet, Mr. Hashimoto? You mentioned food first (laughs).

Hashimoto: I like it (laughs). There are many delicious foods in Tambayama.



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