Transcript: Ep 13 - The Life and Architecture of Raymond Moriyama | Aug 12, 2020

A white slate shows the TVO On Docs logo.

A female announcer says YOU'RE LISTENING TO A TVO PODCAST.

(JAZZ BEAT PLAYING)

Colin says HI, I'M COLIN ELLIS AND THIS IS ON DOCS, A PODCAST ABOUT DOCUMENTARIES AND THE STORIES THEY TELL. THIS WEEK'S DOC TELLS THE STORY OF JAPANESE-CANADIAN ARCHITECT RAYMOND MORIYAMA'S MAGICALLY IMPERFECT BUILDINGS. SHA-BOOM SHA-BOOM YA-DA-DA-DA-DA-DA-DA-DA-DA

In a recorded clip, Moriyama says MY NAME IS RAYMOND MORIYAMA. I'M AN ARCHITECT.

A male MC says THIS LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD GOES TO A MAN WHO HAS MADE AN EXTRAORDINARY CONTRIBUTION TO THE WORLD OF ARCHITECTURE. RAYMOND MORIYAMA.

(AUDIENCE APPLAUDING)

A song says OH, LIFE COULD BE A DREAM...

Moriyama says IT'S KIND OF STRANGE TO SAY THIS, BUT AT FOUR AND A HALF, MY FUTURE PROFESSION WAS SETTLED. GOD, HE OR SHE, OPENED UP MY EYES TOWARDS ARCHITECTURE.

The song continues SHA-BOOM SHA-BOOM, YA-DA-DA-DA-DA-DA-DA-DA-DA...

Moriyama says AND THE REST OF MY LIFE WAS JUST DETAILS.

The song continues SHA-BOOM...

Moriyama says BUT, IT WASN'T EASY.

Colin says WHILE YOU MAY NOT HAVE HEARD OF RAYMOND MORIYAMA, THERE'S A GOOD CHANCE YOU'VE BEEN IN ONE OF HIS BUILDINGS. THE ONTARIO SCIENCE CENTRE, THE TORONTO REFERENCE LIBRARY, AND THE CANADIAN WAR MUSEUM ARE JUST A FEW BUILDINGS THAT MORIYAMA'S LEFT HIS MARK ON AS BOTH ARCHITECT AND VISIONARY. BUT HIS JOURNEY TO BECOMING AN ARCHITECT WAS PAINFUL. BEGINNING WITH A CHILDHOOD ACCIDENT THAT LEFT HIM BEDRIDDEN.

Scott says AND DURING THAT TIME, HIS FATHER FELT HE OUGHT TO AT LEAST HAVE SOME WINDOW ONTO THE WORLD. AS HE WATCHED, THERE WAS A HOUSE BEING BUILT ACROSS THE STREET AND HE SAW THIS MAN WALK ONTO THE SITE WITH A ROLL OF PAPER UNDER HIS ARM. AND HE'D UNROLL IT AND ALL THE OTHER MEN WOULD COME AROUND AND SMILE AND NOD. AND RAY THOUGHT, WELL, THIS GUY, HE WANTS TO KNOW WHO HE IS, WHAT HE DOES. AND HE ASKED HIS FATHER TO GO ACROSS AND FIND OUT. HIS FATHER CAME BACK AND SAID, "WELL, HE'S CALLED AN ARCHITECT." AND RAY SAID THAT HE KNEW AT THAT MOMENT THAT'S WHAT HE WANTED TO BE. AND HE DETERMINED AT THAT TIME HE WAS GOING TO BE AN ARCHITECT AT AGE FOUR AND A HALF.

Colin says THAT'S SCOTT CALBECK, THE DIRECTOR OF MAGICAL IMPERFECTION: THE LIFE AND ARCHITECTURE OF RAYMOND MORIYAMA. CALBECK STARTED WORKING ON THE DOCUMENTARY IN 2005 RIGHT AFTER MORIYAMA WRAPPED UP CONSTRUCTION ON THE CANADIAN WAR MUSEUM. HE KNEW THERE WAS A STORY BEHIND THE ARCHITECT AND CREATED A DOC THAT CAPTURES THE EVENTS IN MORIYAMA'S PAST THAT DEFINE THE ARCHITECT HE WOULD BECOME AND INSPIRE WHAT HE'D CREATE. SO, LET'S GET INTO IT. HERE'S OUR CONVERSATION WITH SCOTT CALBECK.

Colin says SCOTT, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING ME TODAY.

Scott says MY PLEASURE.

Colin says WHY A DOCUMENTARY ON RAYMOND MORIYAMA?

Scott says I CAME TO THIS BECAUSE MY BACKGROUND IS IN HISTORY AND I DID A DEGREE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF WESTERN ONTARIO CALLED PUBLIC HISTORY, WHICH IS HISTORY FOR A NON-ACADEMIC AUDIENCE. AND, ONE OF THE WAYS THAT THAT IS PRESENTED IS THROUGH MUSEUMS. AND ALSO THROUGH FILM. SO, WHEN I HEARD ABOUT THIS NEW CANADIAN WAR MUSEUM IN 2005, AND I READ ABOUT THE ARCHITECT, WHO I'D NEVER HEARD OF, I THOUGHT THIS MAN WOULD BE A GREAT SUBJECT FOR A FILM KNOWING WHAT LITTLE I DO. AND SO, I MADE IT MY JOB TO FIND OUT IF HE WOULD PARTICIPATE. UM, AND, THAT WAS 2005. SO THIS... FILMS OFTEN TAKE A LONG TIME, AS YOU PROBABLY KNOW, TO COME TOGETHER. AND THIS WAS NO EXCEPTION. ONCE I MET RAYMOND, AND HEARD MORE ABOUT HIS STORY, I WAS CONVINCED THAT THIS MAN, HE OUGHT TO BE MORE WIDELY KNOWN. HE BRINGS SUCH A HUMANISTIC APPROACH TO HIS WORK. AND, UM, I DECIDED THAT I WOULD NOT STOP UNTIL I MADE THIS FILM.

Colin says WHY DID HE WANT TO BE IN A DOCUMENTARY?

Scott says HE HAD, HAVING JUST FINISHED THE CANADIAN WAR MUSEUM AT, I GUESS, THE AGE OF 75, THAT WAS GOING TO BE HIS LAST MAJOR WORK. AND, I GUESS HE FELT THAT MADE IT POSSIBLE FOR HIM TO BE A LITTLE MORE REFLECTIVE ABOUT HIS LIFE AND CAREER. AND HE HAD CERTAINLY, MAYBE HE HAD THE TIME NOW TO DEVOTE TO IT. 'CAUSE HE HAD, HE TOLD ME, HE HAD BEEN ASKED MANY TIMES TO PARTICIPATE IN A FILM AND HE'D ALWAYS DECLINED. HE DIDN'T THINK THAT IT WAS SOMETHING HE WANTED TO DO. BUT MY TIMING WAS GOOD. HE WAS READY TO ENTERTAIN THE IDEA.

Colin says IT'S CALLED MAGICAL IMPERFECTION. WHAT DOES THAT TITLE MEAN?

Scott says WELL THAT GOES TO WHAT RAY LEARNED FROM HIS GRANDFATHER WHEN HE WAS ONLY SIX YEARS OLD. HIS... AND IT'S... WE HAVE A MOMENT IN THE FILM WHERE HE RELATES THIS STORY.

In a recording, Moriyama says HE THEN ASKED ME A VERY IMPORTANT QUESTION. HE SAID, "WHICH IS MORE BEAUTIFUL? THIS IMPERFECT MOON, OR THE PERFECT MOON YOU SAW THE OTHER DAY?" BEFORE I COULD ANSWER, HE SAID, "DON'T YOU THINK THIS IMPERFECTION IS MORE BEAUTIFUL THAN PERFECTION?" "A MAN IS NOT PERFECT." "THERE IS MAGIC TO IMPERFECTION." AND THAT I REMEMBER FOREVER.

Scott says "AND IMPERFECTION CAN BE MAGIC," IS WHAT HE SAID. AND THAT STUCK WITH ME.

Colin says WELL, YOU MENTIONED THE CANADIAN WAR MUSEUM, AND HE'S GOT QUITE A FEW FAMOUS BUILDINGS, THE CANADIAN WAR MUSEUM WHICH IS IN OTTAWA, OF COURSE. THE BATA SHOE MUSEUM, AND THE ONTARIO SCIENCE CENTRE, WHICH ARE BOTH IN TORONTO. IS THERE ANYTHING MAGICALLY IMPERFECT ABOUT ANY OF THOSE BUILDINGS?

Scott says UH, THE WAR MUSEUM IS A GOOD EXAMPLE OF IMPERFECTION. HE ACTUALLY TOLD HIS CONTRACTORS AND THE PEOPLE ON THE JOB HE WANTED "PERFECT IMPERFECTION." BECAUSE IT WAS MEANT TO GIVE PEOPLE A SENSE OF UNEASE. AND IF IT WAS PERFECT, IT COULDN'T DO THAT. UM, SO THE WALLS ARE TILTED, AND THE CEILING UNDULATES, AND THE FLOORS ARE UNEVEN, AND THERE'S ROUGH CONCRETE EXPOSED. THESE ARE ALL THINGS TO REMIND US, I BELIEVE, THAT WE'RE NOT PERFECT, BUT WE CAN STRIVE FOR IT. THE ONLY PART OF THE WAR MUSEUM THAT IS NOT IMPERFECT, YOU MIGHT SAY, IS ONE NINE-METRE SQUARE ROOM THAT IS THE... IT'S CALLED MEMORIAL HALL. AND THAT'S WHERE, ON NOVEMBER 11, IF THE SUN'S OUT AT 11 O'CLOCK, WHEN REMEMBRANCE DAY SERVICES, OR CEREMONY BEGINS, LIGHT WILL SHINE THROUGH A WINDOW INTO THAT ROOM, THAT NINE METRE SQUARE ROOM, AND ILLUMINATE THE TOMB OF THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER, THE ORIGINAL ONE THAT WAS BROUGHT BACK FROM EUROPE.

Colin says LET'S GO BACK IN TIME A BIT, 'CAUSE HE'S LED A VERY INTERESTING LIFE. HE HAD, OBVIOUSLY, A VERY PAINFUL EVENT, A COUPLE OF PAINFUL EVENTS, HAPPEN TO HIM WHEN HE WAS YOUNGER THAT KIND OF INSPIRED HIM TO BECOME AN ARCHITECT. AND I'M THINKING OF ONE INCIDENT WHEN HE WAS VERY YOUNG, THAT LEFT HIM BEDRIDDEN. CAN YOU TELL THAT STORY?

Scott says YES, RAY TELLS HOW HE WAS ONLY FOUR YEARS OLD AND HE WAS ALREADY PRECOCIOUS. HE HAD A PAPER... OR A BALSA WOOD AIRPLANE THAT HE WOULD FLY FROM ONE ROOM INTO ANOTHER. MAKE IT LAND ON THE KITCHEN TABLE. AND THIS ONE TIME, MAYBE A DOOR OR A WINDOW WAS OPEN, AND THE WIND CARRIED THE PLANE UP ONTO THE WOOD-BURNING STOVE. AND HE THOUGHT IT WAS GOING TO BURN UP AND HE DIDN'T WANT TO WAIT FOR HIS MOTHER WHO WASN'T IN THE APARTMENT. HE RAN UP, GOT ON A STOOL, AND AS HE REACHED FOR THE PLANE, THE STOOL TIPPED AND HE KNOCKED OVER A POT OF BOILING STEW THAT WENT ALL THE WAY DOWN ON THE BACK OF HIS HEAD AND HIS BACK AND HIS ARM.

In a recording, Moriyama says AFTER MY ACCIDENT, I WAS IN BED FOR EIGHT MONTHS. MY ARMS WOULDN'T MOVE PROPERLY. AND I WAS REALLY STIFF AS A WOODEN PUPPET. IT WAS A TOTAL DISASTER.

Scott says AND DURING THAT TIME, HIS FATHER FELT HE OUGHT TO AT LEAST HAVE SOME WINDOW ONTO THE WORLD. AND HE PUT THE BED UP AGAINST THE WINDOW SO THAT RAY COULD LOOK OUT INTO THE STREET. THIS FOUR-YEAR-OLD BOY WHOSE ARMS AREN'T MOVING PROPERLY, WHO CAN'T LEAVE THE HOUSE, BASICALLY. BUT, AS HE WATCHED, THERE WAS A HOUSE BEING BUILT ACROSS THE STREET. AND, HE LIKES TO SAY AS A FOUR-YEAR-OLD BOY, HE THOUGHT IT WAS MAYBE A CASTLE OR SOMETHING, AND HE SAW THIS MAN WALK ONTO THE SITE WITH A ROLL OF PAPER UNDER HIS ARM. AND HE'D UNROLL IT AND ALL THE OTHER MEN WOULD COME AROUND AND SMILE AND NOD. AND RAY THOUGHT, WELL, THIS GUY, HE WANTS TO KNOW WHO HE IS, WHAT HE DOES. AND HE ASKED HIS FATHER TO GO ACROSS AND FIND OUT. HIS FATHER CAME BACK AND SAID, "WELL, HE'S CALLED AN ARCHITECT." AND RAY SAID THAT HE KNEW AT THAT MOMENT THAT'S WHAT HE WANTED TO BE. AND HE DETERMINED AT THAT TIME HE WAS GOING TO BE AN ARCHITECT AT AGE FOUR AND A HALF.

(COLIN LAUGHING)

Colin says I DON'T KNOW MANY FOUR-YEAR-OLDS WHO ALREADY KNOW THEIR LIFE PLANS THAT FAR AHEAD. THAT'S INCREDIBLE.

Scott says YEAH, I KNOW. I WAS GOING TO SAY, THE SECOND PART OF THAT, IF I CAN GO ON WITH THAT, THE SECOND INCIDENT, YOU MIGHT SAY, WAS BEING INTERNED. HAVING HIS FATHER TAKEN AWAY, PUT INTO A CAMP. THEY DIDN'T KNOW WHERE HE WAS. THEY DIDN'T EVEN KNOW IF HE WAS ALIVE AFTER THE SECOND WORLD WAR AND THE JAPANESE INVASION, OR ATTACK, AT PEARL HARBOR. SO, 22,000 CANADIANS OF JAPANESE DESCENT ARE INTERNED. AND HE AND HIS MOTHER AND TWO YOUNGER SISTERS ARE SENT TO A CAMP. AND, HE DIDN'T KNOW WHERE HIS FATHER WAS. LIKE I SAY, THEY DIDN'T KNOW IF HE WAS EVEN ALIVE. BUT, UM, HE WENT INTO THIS CAMP AND NOW HE'S, UH, LET'S SEE, SEVEN, EIGHT, NINE YEARS OLDER, BUT HE STILL HAS TERRIBLE SCARS. AND, PEOPLE IN THE CAMP WOULD MAKE FUN OF HIM WHEN THEY SAW HIM IN THE BATHHOUSE, 'CAUSE THERE WAS NO PRIVATE BATHHOUSE. AND IT MADE RAY SAD. HE'S A SENSITIVE BOY, I GUESS. AND HE DECIDED HE WOULD FIND ANOTHER PLACE TO GO. AND HE STARTED TO TAKE A BATH IN THE SLOCAN RIVER, WHICH WAS OUTSIDE OF THE CAMP. AND HE KNEW HE COULD GET IN TROUBLE IF HE WAS CAUGHT. AND HE DIDN'T WANT TO BE SEPARATED FROM HIS MOTHER. NOW HE'S THE MAN OF THE FAMILY. SO HE BUILT A LITTLE TREEHOUSE. OR, IT STARTED AS A PLATFORM. HE MADE IT INTO A LITTLE TREEHOUSE WHERE HE COULD OBSERVE, MAKE SURE NOBODY WAS COMING, BEFORE HE JUMPED, OR WENT INTO THE RIVER, AND HAD A BATH. AND THAT WAS HIS FIRST FORAY INTO ARCHITECTURE. AND, IT GAVE HIM A CHANCE TO BE BY HIMSELF AND TO REALIZE THAT EVEN THOUGH THIS TERRIBLE SITUATION IS GOING ON... THE FAMILY'S SEPARATED. THEY'RE LITERALLY PUT INTO THE WILDERNESS. THEIR HOME HAS BEEN TAKEN. THEY'VE LOST THE BUSINESS THAT HIS FATHER HAD BEEN WORKING IN. AND HE COULD SEE NOW THAT NATURE WAS A MUCH MORE PERMANENT ENVIRONMENT. THAT, IN SOCIETY, YOU KNOW, CANADA SAID IT WAS GOING TO WAR IN DEFENSE OF DEMOCRACY, AND HUMAN RIGHTS, BUT HERE HE IS IMPRISONED. AND HE'S A CANADIAN. HE WAS BORN IN VANCOUVER.

Colin says DO YOU THINK THAT INJUSTICE, THAT, YOU KNOW, HE SUFFERED, HIS FATHER AND HIS FAMILY SUFFERED, AND OBVIOUSLY THE JAPANESE IN CANADA, THAT THEY SUFFERED AS WELL, DO YOU THINK THAT'S, SORT OF LIKE, SEEN IN HIS ARCHITECTURE?

Scott says I BELIEVE IT IS IN THE SENSE THAT HIS WORK, AND THE JAPANESE CANADIAN CULTURAL CENTRE IS A GOOD EXAMPLE OF THIS. IT WAS CONCEIVED OF AS A WAY FOR JAPANESE-CANADIANS TO GIVE BACK TO A COUNTRY THAT HAD DENIED THEM THEIR OWN RIGHTS. BUT, THE BUILDING ITSELF COULD BRING IN EVERYBODY, AND COULD GIVE JAPANESE-CANADIANS A SENSE THAT THEY BELONGED. AND, SO THE PERMANENCE OF THAT BUILDING WAS AN IMPORTANT THING BECAUSE PEOPLE... AND THIS WAS, YOU KNOW, NOT EVEN 20 YEARS AFTER THE WAR THAT IT WAS BUILT, PEOPLE WERE STILL FEELING A SENSE OF, YOU KNOW, DISLODGEMENT, OR UN-CONNECTEDNESS TO THEIR COUNTRY. SO, THE BUILDING IS DESIGNED TO GIVE PEOPLE A CHANCE TO BE CONNECTED AND ALSO TO GIVE THE COMMUNITY A CHANCE TO SHOW THE REST OF THE COUNTRY THAT THEY WANT TO CONTRIBUTE.

Colin says HE SAYS, "ARCHITECTURE HAS TO REFLECT DEMOCRACY AND SOCIAL JUSTICE." I WONDER WHAT YOU THOUGHT OF THAT.

Scott says WELL, I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT HE MEANT AT FIRST, BUT NOW I BELIEVE I DO. BECAUSE, YOU GO INTO A BUILDING LIKE THE SCARBOROUGH CIVIC CENTRE, AND IT IS SUPPOSED TO REPRESENT DEMOCRACY AT THE MUNICIPAL LEVEL. IT WAS BACK WHEN SCARBOROUGH WAS A CITY. IT WAS GOING TO BE THE CITY HALL AND THEY ALSO WANTED A BOARD OF EDUCATION HEADQUARTERS. AND RAY WAS ABLE TO LOOK AT HOW HE COULD COMBINE THE FUNCTIONS OF BOTH THOSE AND ELIMINATE SOME DUPLICATION, AND COME UP WITH A BUILDING THAT, REALLY, FROM ITS VERY INCEPTION, IT WAS DESIGNED TO SERVE EVERYBODY WHO WOULD COME INTO IT. AND, SCARBOROUGH, LIKE YOU KNOW, MANY PLACES IN CANADA IS A DIVERSE COMMUNITY. YOU CAN'T DENY ANYBODY THEIR RIGHTS TO PARTICIPATE IN A DEMOCRACY. SO THIS BUILDING IS, I BELIEVE IT'S REALLY, IT'S UNDERAPPRECIATED. AND IN MANY WAYS AN UNKNOWN GEM OF A BUILDING. AND YOU JUST WALK IN AND RIGHT AWAY YOU FEEL LIKE YOU BELONG. I THINK THAT'S A VERY IMPORTANT PART OF HIS WORK.

Colin says WASN'T IT KIND OF DESIGNED SO THAT THE SECRETARIES WOULD FACE THE PUBLIC?

Scott says THAT'S RIGHT. YES. THE PEOPLE, THE TOP EXECUTIVES, THEY DIDN'T NEED WINDOWS. IT WAS THE PEOPLE WHO SERVED THE PUBLIC WHO SHOULD HAVE A CHANCE TO COMMUNICATE, SO TO SPEAK, WITH THE PUBLIC, BY HAVING A VIEW INTO THE BUILDING. AND IT'S...I'M SURE IT'S AN INSPIRING PLACE TO WORK. I ENJOY THAT BUILDING VERY MUCH.

Colin says WELL, THE BUILDING I ENJOY A LOT IS THE ONTARIO SCIENCE CENTRE. WHICH, HE WAS COMMISSIONED TO BUILD IN, I GUESS, THE 60'S.

Scott says YES, IT WAS A CENTENNIAL PROJECT. SO, IT MAY BE '64, '65, IT WAS COMMISSIONED. AND THEN, UM, I'M NOT SURE IF IT WAS OPEN IN TIME FOR 1967'S CENTENNIAL. IT MAY HAVE BEEN THE NEXT YEAR. BUT IT WAS VERY MUCH ONTARIO'S FEATURE PROJECT FOR CONFEDERATION.

Colin says AND WE MENTIONED, YOU KNOW, THE CONNECTION TO NATURE. I MEAN, I ALWAYS TOOK FOR GRANTED THAT IT WAS BUILT IN, YOU KNOW, ESSENTIALLY A PARK, RIGHT? I'VE RIDDEN MY BIKE THROUGH THERE MANY TIMES AND NEVER REALLY MADE THAT CONNECTION BEFORE. BUT SOMETHING THAT I WANTED TO ASK YOU ABOUT, IS JUST, TO WHAT EXTENT, LIKE, WAS GIVING MORIYAMA THIS PROJECT CONSIDERED A HUGE DEAL AT THE TIME?

Scott says WELL, HE WAS RELATIVELY YOUNG AT THE TIME, IN HIS 30'S. HE TELLS US HE WAS THE FIRST PERSON WITH, WHAT HE SAYS WAS A FUNNY NAME, TO BE GIVEN SUCH A PRESTIGIOUS PROJECT IN ONTARIO. AND, UM, I'M NOT SURE WHY THEY SELECTED HIM IN THE FIRST PLACE. I GUESS HE WAS KNOWN IN TORONTO FOR THE JAPANESE CANADIAN CULTURAL CENTRE. AND, UM, THIS WAS... WELL, HE CONVINCED THEM, I GUESS, THAT HE COULD PULL THIS OFF.

(TELEPHONE RINGING)

In a recording, Moriyama says I RECEIVED A PHONE CALL FROM THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS. HE SAID, "RAYMOND, WE'RE LOOKING FOR SOME YOUNG ARCHITECT WITH TALENT AND LOTS OF GUTS." "AND THAT'S YOU." HE SAID, "IT'S GOING TO BE AN INSTITUTION OF INTERNATIONAL IMPORTANCE." "IT'S GOING TO BE THE FIRST, HANDS-ON, INTERACTING MUSEUM." "ARE YOU INTERESTED?" I SAID, "NO, SIR." "IT SOUNDS LIKE TOO MUCH RESPONSIBILITY." (LAUGHING) HE SAID, "RAY, I THINK YOU SHOULD GET YOUR ASS DOWN HERE." (LAUGHING) "IT'S GOING TO AFFECT YOUR LIFE FOREVER." (LAUGHING) I SAID, "IF YOU PUT IT THAT WAY, I CAN'T REFUSE."

Colin says WELL, IT'S A PRETTY, I MEAN AT THE TIME, I GUESS CONSIDERED A CONTROVERSIAL THING THAT HE WAS PROPOSING, RIGHT? 'CAUSE IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE INTERACTIVE AND PRETTY HANDS-ON. I DON'T KNOW IF MANY OTHER BUILDINGS LIKE THAT EXISTED AT THE TIME. AND I THINK THAT'S CHANGED SINCE THEN. BUT, WAS IT A STRUGGLE FOR HIM TO, I GUESS, PUSH THAT VISION FORWARD?

Scott says YES, HE DESCRIBES GOING TO CONFERENCES FOR MUSEUM PEOPLE WHEN HE WAS PLANNING THIS. AND THE CONCEPT WAS THAT PEOPLE WOULD PARTICIPATE IN A HANDS-ON WAY. AND HE WAS RIDICULED BY THE PEOPLE WHO SUPPOSEDLY WERE THE EXPERTS IN THE FIELD. AND THEY TOLD HIM, THAT, YOU KNOW, "YOU'RE CRAZY. "THIS IS SOMETHING FOR A CARNIVAL, OR FOR DISNEYLAND. IT'S NOT FOR A SERIOUS MUSEUM." BUT HE PROVED THEM WRONG. AND NOW, EVERY SCIENCE MUSEUM IN THE WORLD, AND THERE'S HUNDREDS THAT HAVE BEEN BUILT SINCE, BUT THEY ALL FEATURE, I SAY "ALL," MOST ALL FEATURE HANDS-ON AS A WAY FOR PEOPLE TO LEARN. AND RAY SHOWED THAT THAT COULD BE DONE.

Colin says AND THERE'S A CONFUCIUS SAYING THAT HE TALKS ABOUT: "I HEAR AND I FORGET. I SEE AND I REMEMBER. I DO AND I UNDERSTAND." WHAT DOES THAT MEAN TO YOU? OR WHAT DOES THAT MEAN TO HIM?

Scott says WELL, WHEN, I GUESS IT GOES BACK TO HIS TIME IN THE INTERNMENT CAMP AND BEING IN THE TREEHOUSE. HE WAS HANDS-ON WITH NATURE AT THAT TIME. AND HE HAD NO BOOKS, BUT HE WANTED TO, YOU KNOW, EXPAND HIS UNDERSTANDING OF THE WORLD. AND, THAT, I GUESS HE CAME ACROSS THAT CONFUCIUS SAYING LATER, BUT HE REALIZED THAT'S WHAT HE WAS DOING. HE WAS EXPERIENCING NATURE, NOT JUST HEARING ABOUT IT, OR, YOU KNOW, OBSERVING IT. HE GOT TO PARTICIPATE IN A WAY THAT HELPED HIM BELIEVE HE WAS GETTING AN EDUCATION AND FORMED, THE, YOU KNOW, IN MANY WAYS, THE FOUNDATION OF HIS CAREER.

Colin says WELL, YOU KNOW, I DON'T THINK IT'S A STRETCH TO SAY THAT PEOPLE MIGHT NOT THINK ABOUT THE ARCHITECT OF A BUILDING THEY'RE VISITING. AS I MENTIONED, I'VE BEEN TO THE SCIENCE CENTRE MANY TIMES, TORONTO REFERENCE LIBRARY. AND, YOU KNOW, I NEVER THOUGHT ABOUT THE PERSON WHO MADE IT. DO YOU THINK ARCHITECTS ARE UNDERRATED?

Scott says I THINK SOME ARCHITECTS. AND I THINK RAY IS UNDERRATED BECAUSE, UM, WE CAN SEE NOW, IN HIS BUILDINGS, HOW HE IS REFLECTING US IN A WAY, AND OUR VALUES, AND GIVING US A PLACE TO FULFILL OUR OWN POTENTIAL. AND, UM, I DON'T KNOW ENOUGH ABOUT OTHER ARCHITECTS TO SPEAK TO THEIR PHILOSOPHIES. BUT IN THIS CASE, RAY IS GIVING PEOPLE, LIKE I SAY, A CHANCE TO FULFILL THEIR OWN POTENTIAL IN A SPACE THAT DOESN'T... IT'S NOT ALL FORM AND FUNCTION. LIKE HE SAYS, "ARCHITECTURE IS NOT JUST BRICKS AND MORTAR. IT'S MEANT TO GIVE PEOPLE A CHANCE TO PARTICIPATE AND TO REFLECT THEIR OWN VALUES." AND I THINK HIS WORKS ARE GREAT EXAMPLES OF THAT CONCEPT.

Colin says I LOVE THAT. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY HIS LEGACY IS?

Scott says I THINK HIS LEGACY IS SHOWING US THAT WE ALL HAVE A DUTY TO ONE ANOTHER. WE ALL HAVE VALUE. WE ALL HAVE INNATE HUMAN RIGHTS. AND HERE'S AN EXAMPLE OF SOMEBODY WHOSE RIGHTS WERE TAKEN AWAY, BUT INSTEAD OF BEING BITTER, OR DEFEATED, OR, UM, YOU KNOW, REFUSING TO PARTICIPATE IN THE WORLD, IT MADE HIM MORE DETERMINED TO MAKE SURE THAT ALL PEOPLES' RIGHTS ARE RESPECTED, AND THAT THERE'S EQUALITY AMONG PEOPLE, AND THAT RACE IS NOT SOMETHING THAT SHOULD DEFINE YOU. ALTHOUGH, I MEAN, IT'S IMPORTANT TO APPRECIATE IN ALL OF OUR OWN HERITAGE. AND HE DOES THAT. HIS JAPANESE HERITAGE IS VERY IMPORTANT TO HIM, BUT IT'S NOT WHAT DEFINES HIM TOTALLY AS A PERSON. IT'S JUST PART OF WHAT MAKES HIM SUCH A REMARKABLE PERSON. AND HIS BUILDINGS WILL BE HERE FOR, I THINK, CENTURIES. AND HE ALWAYS FINDS A WAY TO DISMISS THAT. HE SAYS, "OH, WELL, YOU KNOW, IT'LL ALL BE GONE SOME DAY." BUT, UM, YOU GO INTO THE TORONTO REFERENCE LIBRARY. THIS IS ANOTHER, WHAT I FIND A GOOD EXAMPLE. AND IT'S DESIGNED SO THAT THERE'S A BREAK FROM THE STREET. YOU GO THROUGH A LITTLE AREA WHERE THERE'S PONDS AND BENCHES. AND IT'S A BREAK FROM THE STREET. AND THEN YOU COME INTO THIS EMPTY SPACE. AND IT'S EMPTY BECAUSE IT'S INTENDED THAT EVERYBODY'S THOUGHTS AND IMAGINATION WILL FILL IT AS THEY PARTICIPATE IN WHAT THEY DO IN THE LIBRARY. AND SO, HIS LEGACY TO ME IS HE'S GIVEN US THESE REMARKABLE, UNIQUE SPACES THAT CHALLENGE US TO BE OUR BEST SELVES. THE WAR MUSEUM IS ANOTHER GREAT EXAMPLE. HE SAYS HE WANTS TO MAKE YOU THINK. "WHERE DO YOU STAND?" IT'S A WAR MUSEUM, BUT IT DOESN'T GLORIFY WAR BY ANY MEANS. IT CHALLENGES US TO THINK ABOUT PEACE AS AN ALTERNATIVE. AND, I DON'T THINK ANYBODY CAN GO INTO THAT BUILDING AND NOT BE MOVED. ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU HEAR THE STORY OF THE PERSON WHO DESIGNED IT. THIS WAS A STORY THAT HAD TO BE TOLD. AND I'M REALLY PLEASED THAT PEOPLE ARE GONNA GET A CHANCE TO EXPERIENCE RAY, AND HIS WORK, BECAUSE HE'S ONE OF A KIND.

Colin says AND WHAT DOES RAY THINK OF IT?

Scott says YOU KNOW, HE LIKES IT. UM, AND THIS WAS SOMETHING. THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC CHALLENGED US BECAUSE WE WOULD'VE ALREADY HAD A PUBLIC SCREENING. HE NEVER HAD ANY EDITORIAL INPUT AND HE KNEW HE WOULDN'T. AND HE NEVER SAW ANY FOOTAGE. ALTHOUGH WE KEPT HIM UP-TO-DATE, KIND OF WHAT WE WERE DOING, THAT WE HAD ACTUALLY GONE AND FILMED A YOUNG BOY TO PLAY HIM. 'CAUSE I WAS SENSITIVE TO THE FACT THAT, YOU KNOW, WE'RE NOT MAKING STUFF UP, BUT WE'RE CERTAINLY REPRESENTING SOMETHING THAT ONLY HE EXPERIENCED. AND NOT ALL OF IT IS A GOOD MEMORY. SO, HE KNEW KIND OF WHAT WE WERE DOING, BUT I WANTED HIM... AND THIS IS WHAT WE WERE TOLD IS THE BEST WAY FOR A SUBJECT TO SEE A FILM, IS IN A ROOM WITH A LOT OF PEOPLE. AT THE END OF THE FILM, PEOPLE ARE GONNA LEAP UP AND APPLAUD. AND HE'S GONNA BASK IN THE, YOU KNOW, THE GLORY OF THIS. AND THAT WOULD BE HIS INTRODUCTION TO THE FILM. BUT, WE CAN'T HAVE PUBLIC SCREENINGS. SO WE WANTED HIM TO HAVE A CHANCE TO SEE IT BEFORE IT AIRED. AND, THE ONE THING THAT HE FELT WAS NOT ACCURATE, AND THE ONLY THING HE REALLY CONSIDERED NOT ACCURATE. WE SHOW A CONVERTIBLE PULLING INTO A PARKING LOT. AND WHEN HE'S DESCRIBING HIS FIRST INTERVIEW. AND HE SAID, "LOOK, I TOOK THE BUS TO THAT INTERVIEW. I NEVER HAD A CONVERTIBLE."

(COLIN LAUGHING)

Scott says BUT OTHER THAN THAT, HE FELT WE HAD CAPTURED HIM. AND, OF COURSE, THE FILM IS RAY TALKING ABOUT HIMSELF. IT'S NOT SCRIPTED IN ANY WAY. WE'VE JUST GONE FROM THE INTERVIEWS AND ALLOWED HIM TO TELL HIS OWN STORY. AND WE ALWAYS FELT THAT WAS IMPORTANT.

Colin says WELL, NOW THAT IT'S AIRING, AND, YOU KNOW, WE SHOULD MENTION AGAIN THAT YOU STARTED THIS PROJECT, I GUESS YOU SAID IN 2005. SO IT'S BEEN 15 YEARS COMING, I GUESS. HOW DOES IT FEEL TO NOW HAVE IT READY FOR PEOPLE TO SEE?

Scott says IT'S WONDERFUL. I FEEL MY LIFE HAS BEEN ENRICHED IN WAYS I CAN HARDLY DESCRIBE. BY NOT ONLY BY KNOWING RAY AS A PERSON, BUT HAVING SUCH AN EXTENSIVE, NOW, APPRECIATION OF HIS WORK. UM, WE CAN'T WAIT FOR PEOPLE TO SEE IT. UH, AND WE'RE TOLD THAT, YOU KNOW, EVEN THOUGH... AND HE'LL TELL YOU. HE'S BEEN SAYING THE SAME THING FOR 45 YEARS. BUT IT'S ONLY RECENTLY THAT SOCIAL JUSTICE, OR SOCIAL INJUSTICE, HAS, YOU KNOW, BECOME A REAL FLASHPOINT IN HUMAN HISTORY, IN WAYS THAT WE DIDN'T ANTICIPATE EVEN, YOU KNOW, A FEW MONTHS AGO. AND, UM, SO HIS MESSAGE HAS BEEN CONSTANT. NOW, EVERYBODY ELSE HAS A CHANCE TO APPRECIATE IT.

Colin says WELL, THANK YOU SO MUCH, SCOTT, FOR JOINING ME TODAY. THIS WAS GREAT.

Scott says I'M GLAD. IT'S A PLEASURE. THANK YOU, COLIN.

Colin says AND THAT'S THE PODCAST. MAGICAL IMPERFECTION: THE LIFE AND ARCHITECTURE OF RAYMOND MORIYAMA DEBUTS TONIGHT ON TVO AT 9:00 PM AND WILL BE AVAILABLE ON TVO.ORG. SO BE SURE TO CHECK IT OUT. IF YOU LIKE WHAT YOU HEARD, LEAVE US A REVIEW ON APPLE PODCASTS, AND BETTER YET, TELL A FRIEND. IF YOU WANT TO GET IN TOUCH, YOU CAN WRITE TO US AT ONDOCS@TVO.ORG, OR YOU CAN FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER @COLINELLIS81. THANKS TO PRODUCER AND EDITOR MATTHEW O'MARA, PRODUCTION SUPPORT COORDINATORS NIKKI ASHWORTH AND JONATHAN HALLIWELL, AND SERIES PRODUCER KATIE O'CONNOR. WE'LL CATCH YOU AT THE NEXT SCREENING.

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