Your actions are not yours alone. Any act, however trivial, sits atop an accumulation of countless acts that arose from your interactions with someone else. Therefore it can never be said that what you do belongs solely to you.

This exhibition consists of an extremely ordinary Japanese wooden house. A country at the forefront of the world in population decline, Japan is awash in houses that have outlived their usefulness and sit there awaiting demolition. The house we shipped to Venice is one of them. We named it Takamizawa House in honor of its original owner. However, Takamizawa House did not arrive in Venice intact. To fit it into the shipping containers we had to dismantle it, a process that entailed the loss of many of its parts. Our team of architects replaced these lost elements with new materials or those obtained on-site in the course of working with local artisans to restore and reconstruct the house in Venice. Nor did we attempt to restore Takamizawa House to its original state. Instead, we repurposed its elements into objects appropriate for the Venice site, converting the roof, for example, into benches. The curious structures visitors will see in the garden of the Japan Pavilion are indeed parts of the original Takamizawa House, now enjoying new life in new configurations. Elements that were not used in the garden are on display inside the Pavilion itself, which serves as a warehouse for the project. After its initial construction, Takamizawa House underwent numerous renovations and expansions over the years that altered it in complex ways. Arranging its elements by era thus provides a clear picture of how the house contains the strata of successive periods in the history of postwar Japanese housing. For example, the earliest elements were primarily hand-made, but as time progressed these were replaced by mass-produced members, a visible manifestation of the dramatic changes that took place in Japan’s construction industry over the course of the life of the house. Upon viewing this thick accumulation of strata with one’s own eyes, it should be evident that the project architects have done only the slightest overwriting of that history. The trajectory that Takamizawa House has taken in its long journey through time and space to arrive at this place is proof of how our actions are ineluctably rooted in the past and linked to the future. Over the arc of this trajectory, “Takamizawa House” exists as nothing more or less than a set of elements undergoing repeated cycles of aggregation and dispersion. Of course, that is not only true for this particular house. At the level of its constituent parts, every building is just a temporary aggregation of many elements. It is in this sense that architecture exists amid a vast space-time continuum, one in which the actions of countless people are constantly appearing and disappearing. We believe it should be possible to find a common platform for diverse actors to live together within that continuum.