The Site of Reversible Destiny is an “experience park” opened in 1995 designed by Nagoya-born, New York-based artist Arakawa Shusaku and his wife and artistic partner, poet Madeline Gins. The theme of the park is “encountering the unexpected,” spreading across about 18,000 square meters. The couple realized their bold and reckless 30-year vision consisting of a main pavilion called the “Critical Resemblance House” and the vast bowl-like “Elliptical Field.”
Reversible Destiny Lofts Technical Information
- Architects: Madeline Gins and Shusaku Arakawa
- Location: Yoro, Gifu Prefecture, Japan
- Program: Landscape Architecture / Park
- Project year: 1995
- Size: 195,000 sq ft / 18,100 sq m
- Foundation: Reversible Destiny Lofts MITAKA
- Photographs: © Arakawa & Gins
The best way to get a handle on how a person is situated in the world is actually to construct one, a handle expressly made for the purpose.
– Shusaku Arakawa in Architecture: Sites of Reversible Destiny
Yoro Park Photographs
The Site Of Reversible Destiny
Armed with sneakers and a helmet provided free at the entrance, visitors are challenged “to rethink their physical and spiritual orientation to the world,” and while walking in the Elliptical Field, “instead of being fearful of losing your balance, look forward to it (as a desirable re-ordering of the landing sites, formerly known as the senses),” according to Arakawa’s “Directions for Use” on Yoro Park’s official site.
The park presents itself to the visitor as a carefully considered construction of undulating planes, shifting colors, and disorienting spaces, thus providing a place of purposeful experimentation. Nine structures referred to as “Architectural Fragments” are set in the terrain of the Elliptical Field and are identified by names such as “Geographical Ghost” and “Exactitude Ridge.”
The Critical Resemblances House is a large structure set apart from the Elliptical Field. It comes with its own Directions for Use designed to maximize certain aspects of the visitor’s experience. The conceptual underpinning of the project can be found in the 2005 essay “Architecture: Sites of Reversible Destiny,” in which Arakawa and Gins propose that “juggling, jumbling, and reshuffling the body with its fund of landing sites introduces a person to the process that constitutes being a person.
To reverse destiny, one must first re-enter destiny, re-positioning oneself within the destiny of being slated to live without ever knowing how and why. The re-entering of destiny must be highly calculated. The world and everything in it will have to be transformed into a site of reversible destiny.
Yoro Park Plans
Yoro Park Image Gallery
About Arakawa & Gins
Shusaku Arakawa (1936 – 2010) was a Japanese artist and architect.
Madeline Helen Arakawa Gins (1941 – 2014) was an American artist, architect, and poet.
Arakawa and Madeline Gins are co-founders of the Reversible Destiny Foundation, an organization dedicated to using architecture to extend the human lifespan. They have co-authored books, including Reversible Destiny, which is the catalog of their Guggenheim exhibition, Architectural Body (University of Alabama Press, 2002) and Making Dying Illegal (New York: Roof Books, 2006), and have designed and built residences and parks, including the Reversible Destiny Lofts, Bioscleave House, and the Site of Reversible Destiny – Yoro.