Raymond Moriyama – Magical Imperfection

As a young boy, Raymond visited Tokyo, Japan where he bonded with his grandfather; a man who was deeply connected with nature. Raymond’s grandfather posed the question: “Which is more beautiful – the perfect round moon, or the imperfect partial moon?” – a sort of debate unlike any other Raymond had ever considered previously. This type of philosophical analysis forced Raymond to consider his surroundings through a new lens. He began to think about elements in nature as expressions beauty and art, rather than merely physical phenomenon. Through this discourse with his grandfather, Raymond was made to realize that there is “magic to imperfection”.

He took this profound lesson into his adulthood, throughout his career as an architect. Raymond was recognized for his ability to apply a unique design sensibility on each individual project – resulting in no two projects being completely alike and no “in house style” as an architectural practice. Above all, Raymond knew that in order to create a successful building project, the health and vitality of the site, as well as that of the occupants, had to be prioritized.

While at the internment camp in Slocan, Raymond would sneak out to work on building a tree house. Ted Teshima, Raymond’s long time business partner and colleague, knew how significant this tree house was in Ray’s life and created a tribute to it during a gingerbread competition:

“I remember the gingerbread tree house Ted made, how hard he worked to make it to win the Gingerbread Architectural Competition. Ted knew the tree house was my first foray into architecture as a 12-13 year boy, all by myself, not to be caught by the RCMP in the internment camp in the Rockies. Ted knew it influenced my life and in many designs. The Canadian Embassy in Tokyo is a tree house. The sound of the breeze I heard 60 years prior in the tree house was the original source of design inspiration for the Canadian War Museum. I considered Ted’s tree house as the greatest tribute I received in my life. And I will remember it came from my partner, Ted, a gourmand cook and a gingerbread master.”
– Raymond Moriyama

Click here to access the 2020 TVO Documentary about Raymond, “Magical Imperfection: The Life and Architecture of Moriyama”.

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