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Archaeology of the Future: Meet architect Tsuyoshi Tane

In this Australian exclusive, Atelier Tsuyoshi Tane Architects promises to create “an architecture that nobody has ever seen, experienced or imagined yet.

Archaeology of the Future: Meet architect Tsuyoshi Tane

Estonian National Museum (2006), Dorrell Ghotmeh Tane Architects

“There was never a generation like this before”, says Tsuyoshi Tane. Until now, “only a handful would’ve found true globalism.” But for this Paris-based, Tokyo-born architect behind projects in far-flung corners of the Himalayas, France, Japan, Switzerland and Italy (and previously Estonia, Hong Kong, USA, Denmark, Latvia and Norway), “true globalism” is understated.

Founder and Director of Atelier Tsuyoshi Tane Architects, Tane oversees a team of thirty-or-so architects gathered from more than ten countries. His identification of an internationalist spirit across their number accounts for an equally diverse roll call of projects – each, in their various ways, interrogating identity, belonging, memory, yearning, times past and hence.

It has been a hallmark of his practice since winning a 2006 competition as one of three co-Founders of Dorrell Ghotmeh Tane Architects, the design for the Estonian National Museum (pictured). Cut into an abandoned Soviet air force runway, the 335-metres long Museum performs keyhole surgery both in built form and figurative intent: digging. “Even in places with negative memories, like the Soviet military runway in Estonia”, he says, “by creating a building called the National Museum, this history now leads to a new future.”

Contained within infrastructure that once ensured the occupation of Baltic states, the Estonian National Museum offers a poignant reminder of the bravery (and the tolls) to self-actualise – a struggle Estonia overcame in 1991 with the retreat of Moscow’s 76th Guards Air Assault Division, alongside the civilian barricades around Toompea’s television broadcast tower. “It is changing there”, says Tane. “It is human nature to forget. But places remember, and architecture in these places can bear witness to those memories.”

Tane shares this unique architectural philosophy with Tokyo-based journalist and author, Kate Klippensteen, for the Sherman Centre for Culture and Ideas’ 2020 Cinéphile Hub. His dedicated episode premieres the final eight-part release of web documentaries starring Australian, Japanese and British leaders in architecture and fashion (above), in which Tane describes his practice’s philosophical drive to create this international portfolio of work.

Neither constructing the future like the Modernists, nor recapitulating convention like the Post-Modernists, Atelier Tsuyoshi Tane Architects finds ways to express a new turn in sincerity and patience for architecture. The Atelier’s projects attempt to unseal different possibilities for awareness in the built environment – approaches designed through anthropological and archaeological rigours:

“It is a process of surprise and discovery, of searching to encounter what we didn’t know, what we had forgotten, and what was lost due to modernization and globalization. We believe there are always memories in the place that are deeply embedded beneath the ground and in the history. By this process of thinking from the past to the future, the memory of the place slowly becomes architecture.” – Atelier Tsuyoshi Tane Architects, Archaeology of the Future.

Speaking to Klippensteen, SCCI’s Tokyo Correspondent, Tane describes how the firm’s ‘archaeology of the future’ provides a contributing form of memorialisation, extending the life of Hirosaki City’s cider brewery, now the Hirosaki Museum of Contemporary Art. “Renovation usually means renewal”, Tane tells Klippensteen, “but we call it ‘continuation’. Continuation means pursuing past memories and bringing them into the future. We believe it to be a very important responsibility for architects: to promote continuity of memory in the built environment. It’s more than just altering through renovations.”

“I think an architect’s prime job is to shape a unique place in the world. Through designing a space, architects can sometimes design a future for a place. I believe that’s an architect’s true calling.” – Tane.

Filmed on location in the Atelier’s GYRE.Food project in the middle of Omotesando, Tokyo, Tane’s SCCI Cinéphile Hub episode offers glimpses into this global practice’s curiousity: five-star luxury villages in Bhutan; Parisian restaurants composed of tens of thousands of antique terracotta tiles foraged all over the French countryside; Tokyo restaurants, (GYRE.Food) in which rammed earth and soil hovers four storeys above the city’s swarming core; a museum space within a mini Versailles, originally built by Louis XV, located smack-bang in the middle of Place de la Concorde… wristwatches, sculpture, catwalks–

“Now, we believe that memory is not something that belongs in the past but is a driving force to create architecture of the future. Architecture in memory of a place–we call it “Archaeology of the Future.” – Atelier Tsuyoshi Tane Architects.


Indesign Media is the Official Media Partner of SCCI Cinéphile Hub 2020, featuring leading architects and designers from Australia, the Asia Pacific, Japan and the United Kingdom, including: Tsuyoshi Tane (Atelier Tsuyoshi Tane Architects), Kengo Kuma (Kengo Kuma & Associates), Akira Minagawa (mina perhonen), Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham (Klein Dytham architecture), Masataka Hosoo (Hosoo), Mami Kataoka (Mori Art Museum Tokyo), Hiroshi Sugimoto, Dame Zandra Rhodes DBE (Zandra Rhodes), Andrew Logan, John McAslan CBE (McAslan + Partners), Stephanie Macdonald and Tom Emerson (6a Architects), Kazuyo Sejima (SANAA), Chris Wilkinson OBE (WilkinsonEyre), Phillip Rosssington and Bill Dowzer (BVN). Episodes are hotels by writer and author Kate Klippensteen (Japan), curator, cultural producer and consultant Dolla Merrillees (United Kingdom) and Head of Architecture at the Royal Academy of Arts London Kate Goodwin (Australia).

SCCI is a not-for-profit Foundation founded and directed by Dr Gene Sherman AM. 
SCCI Cinéphile Hub episodes are free and open access via and released weekly.

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