Architect Tsuyoshi Tane on the ‘archaeology of the future’

A new show by architect Tsuyoshi Tane launches today at the TOTO concept gallery in London, exploring the ‘archaeology of the future’

render of rework of frank lloyd wright hotel by Tsuyoshi Tane
Imperial Hotel New Building in Tokyo
(Image credit: Tsuyoshi Tane)

The first UK exhibition of Tsuyoshi Tane focuses on one of the Japan-born, Paris-based architect's key fascinations: an archaeological approach to building design. 'Archaeology of the Future', which opens this week at the TOTO concept gallery in Clerkenwell, London, is a show that has been travelling, adapting and growing since its inception in Tokyo in 2018. Like all its iterations, the London exhibition is tailor-made to its venue. 

'[Here], we want to present a visual landscape in this exhibition,' Tane, founder of studio ATTA, says. 'We have created projects on different sites, with different materials, using different programmes and at different scales – but the entire architectural picture has never been seen as a whole. By experiencing these projects as a single visual landscape, it is hoped that visitors will see that ATTA's architecture respects the memory and dignity of each place and is timeless, as if it had always been there.'

Tsuyoshi Tane portrait

Tsuyoshi Tane

(Image credit: Yoshiaki Tsutsui)

Tsuyoshi Tane: architecture and archaeology

'We are now at a major turning point. With the acceleration of global modernisation, we are beginning to realise that we have lost much of our long history of human creation and culture, and that it does not promise a future,' Tane says. 'So what if, like archaeologists, we can create the future by digging up the ground, digging up the memory of places and creating architecture. Memory is then not about the past; it is the memory that exists in a place that drives the creation of the future. I call it the archaeology of the future.'

Vitra Garden House by Tsuyoshi Tane

Tane Garden House at Vitra Campus

(Image credit: Julien Lanoo)

The architect's practice is behind projects such as the Estonian National Museum in Tartu, completed in 2016 (in collaboration with Lina Ghotmeh and Dan Dorell, under their then-joint firm DGT); the Vitra Campus's Tane Garden House, which opened in June 2023; an urban farming project in Shibuya City, called 388 FARM, currently in construction; and the Imperial Hotel New Building in Tokyo, a project that reinterprets Frank Lloyd Wright's iconic (and now demolished) Imperial Hotel and slated to go on site in 2031. 


Estonian National Museum

(Image credit: Propapanda lr)

Images, videos and entirely site-specific 'archaeological installations' will be on offer to help visitors explore Tane's take on architecture, using these existing projects as case studies. 'Through our archaeological approach to architecture, we hope that visitors will enjoy themselves, and realise that architecture can connect the past with the future,' says Tane. 

'Archaeology of the Future' at the TOTO concept gallery will be on display 22 September - 20 October 2023 

Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture & Environment Director at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018), Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020) and House London (2022).