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‘To Sushi’

Words and Images provided by Rory Turner
Rory Turner is an undergraduate student at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL. His 2nd year building project, “Caravaggio Dreams of Sushi,” proposed a sushi restaurant situated along the Regent’s Canal in Hoxton, East London.

An experiment in the mastery of light and shadow within architecture; the project became a research platform to explore the interpretation of light within the context of Japanese cultural and artistic traditions which embrace themes of delicacy and subtlety. Following a two-week research trip to Japan, these more sensitive qualities of light were then compared and contrasted to light’s more expressive, dramatic depiction present within Western Renaissance artwork, such as the striking paintings of Caravaggio. I became fascinated by the idea of harnessing light in order to construct darkness, using the shadow as a space for curiosity and invention.

Beginning with representations of illuminated “moments” within the architecture etched in chalk; the design method soon evolved into a scientific process of constructing an architecture through physical light experiments with small “sets” for the dining spaces.


As the building started to take shape, these experiments migrated into the digital realm. Maxwell, an advanced rendering programme, was used to accurately simulate the interior and exterior lighting in order to design the dining spaces in such a way as to be illuminated by a concealed central kitchen space. The final form of the building therefore results from an iterative process of both carefully slicing into and extruding walls and ceilings in order to let light trickle into the space whilst paradoxically maintaining the construction of darkness.

The hope of the project was to create a spiritual experience that both celebrates and respects Japanese cuisine in order to create a cathedral to sushi.



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