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Japanese Architecture

Capital Tokyo

Language Japanese

Area 377,972.28 km2

Population 127,110,047

Contemporary Japanese architecture combines a rich mix of traditional design practices and western modern aesthetics. The dialogue between these two is present in the integration of time-honored Japanese architectural elements such as sliding doors (fusama) and modular tatami floor mats with cutting edge design and technology. Japan architecture is at the forefront of investigating questions of micro-housing in its dense cities like Tokyo where the population outnumbers the available space. This page features the work of Japanese architectural offices such as Tadao Ando and Associates and SANAA along with interviews and articles about the ever-changing architectural discourse in Japan.
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Latest projects in Japan

Latest news in Japan

Sou Fujimoto's Naoshima Pavilion Photographed by Laurian Ghinitoiu

04:00 - 18 October, 2017
Sou Fujimoto's Naoshima Pavilion Photographed by Laurian Ghinitoiu, © Laurian Ghinitoiu
© Laurian Ghinitoiu

The Naoshima Pavilion by Sou Fujimoto is one of the more recent additions to the world-renowned "Art Island," and is located only meters away from Naoshima's boat terminal (designed by SANAA). The lightweight, highly-transparent mesh-like steel structure was conceived and constructed for the 2016 Setouchi Triennial. Photographer Laurian Ghinitoiu has turned his lens to the project which, in spite of its modest size, casts a striking silhouette on the island's coastline.

Fresh Doubts Loom Over Japan's Vast Subterranean Water Control Systems

04:00 - 11 October, 2017
Fresh Doubts Loom Over Japan's Vast Subterranean Water Control Systems, © <a href=“https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Geofront_Temple%5E_%E9%A6%96%E9%83%BD%E5%9C%8F%E5%A4%96%E9%83%AD%E6%94%BE%E6%B0%B4%E8%B7%AF_-_panoramio.jpg”>Wikimedia user AMANO Jun-ichi</a> licensed under <a href=“https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/“>CC BY 3.0</a>. Image Courtesy of AMANO Jun-ichi
© Wikimedia user AMANO Jun-ichi licensed under CC BY 3.0. Image Courtesy of AMANO Jun-ichi

Rising sea levels, and the potential of extreme conditions globally, are threatening coastal cities around the world. While the Netherlands are often considered to be leading the engineering battle against the tides, Japan—with a renewed sense of urgency—are investing heavily in high-end systems and infrastructure to protect their largest metropoli.

Carbonized Wood: A Traditional Japanese Technique That Has Conquered the World

09:30 - 30 September, 2017
Carbonized Wood: A Traditional Japanese Technique That Has Conquered the World, Villa Meijendel / VVKH architecten. Image © Christian van der Kooy
Villa Meijendel / VVKH architecten. Image © Christian van der Kooy

Ancestral, vernacular and minimalist; for many, these three words have come to define the architecture of Japan, a country that has served as a source of cultural and technological inspiration to countless cultures.

Hiroshi Sambuichi Reflects Upon His Hometown of Hiroshima, And Why It Became Green Again

04:00 - 22 September, 2017
Hiroshi Sambuichi Reflects Upon His Hometown of Hiroshima, And Why It Became Green Again, Courtesy of Louisiana Channel
Courtesy of Louisiana Channel

When a city really becomes one with the air, water and sun I am sure that people will feel the vitality of this. To create cities where this is not lost is a very important message I want to convey to the world.

Sou Fujimoto's Polyhedral Pavilion Shapes The Art Island of Japan

16:00 - 10 September, 2017
Sou Fujimoto's Polyhedral Pavilion Shapes The Art Island of Japan, © Fernanda Castro
© Fernanda Castro

Located a few meters from the terminal of Naoshima, the Japanese island better known as the "Art Island", Sou Fujimoto's Pavilion appears as a translucent and lightweight diamond perched on the coastal edge of Kagawa, visible from SANAA's ferry terminal welcoming the visitors to the island. 

Cloud-Shaped Pavilion is SANAA's Latest Work in Naoshima

16:00 - 9 September, 2017
Cloud-Shaped Pavilion is SANAA's Latest Work in Naoshima, © Fernanda Castro
© Fernanda Castro

The cloud-shaped bicycle terminal on the island of Naoshima is SANAA's latest work. The pavilion is known for its impressive collection of outdoor art and contemporary architecture, with works by prominent exponents such as Yayoi Kusama and Tadao Ando.

Japanese Craftsmanship Gets an Update in These OLED Patterned Tiles

06:00 - 24 July, 2017
Japanese Craftsmanship Gets an Update in These OLED Patterned Tiles, © Fresh Jones
© Fresh Jones

Michiru Tanaka Designs Patterned OLED Tiles inspired by Japanese Craftmanship.

10 Contemporary Japanese Homes Pushing The Architectural Envelope

16:00 - 16 July, 2017
10 Contemporary Japanese Homes Pushing The Architectural Envelope, © Daisuke Shimokawa /Nacása&Partners Inc
© Daisuke Shimokawa /Nacása&Partners Inc

Contemporary Japanese homes are a balance between the country’s traditional values of organizing spaces and architectural innovation that is constantly on the move. They challenge the norms of how to occupy places, pushing the envelope for what it means to have a minimal, “micro-living”.  Through experiments small and smaller, residential projects in Japan shed new light on how we go about our daily routines and rituals at home and question urbanites on what we can do with the space we have.

Bauhaus Houses, Eritrea's Capital and Ahmedabad's Walled City Among 20 Cultural Sites Added to UNESCO's World Heritage List

14:00 - 11 July, 2017
Bauhaus Houses, Eritrea's Capital and Ahmedabad's Walled City Among 20 Cultural Sites Added to UNESCO's World Heritage List, Jama Masjid, Ahmadabad. Image© <a href='https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jama_Masjid,_Ahmedabad_01.jpg'>Wikimedia user Bernard Gagnon</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5/deed.en'>CC BY-SA 2.5</a>
Jama Masjid, Ahmadabad. Image© Wikimedia user Bernard Gagnon licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5

UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee, currently holding its forty-first annual session in the Polish city of Krakow, inscribed twenty new cultural sites on its World Heritage List, including the historic city of Ahmedabad in India, archaeological sites in Cambodia and Brazil, and a “cultural landscape” in South Africa. The Committee also added extensions to two sites already on the list: Strasbourg in France, and the Bauhaus in Germany. On the other hand, the historic center of Vienna was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger as the Committee examined the state of conservation of one-hundred-and-fifty-four of its listed sites.

The Complex Yet Simple Geometry of Toyo Ito's Tama Art University Library

16:00 - 4 July, 2017
The Complex Yet Simple Geometry of Toyo Ito's Tama Art University Library, via screenshot from video © Vincent Hecht
via screenshot from video © Vincent Hecht

In his latest video, filmmaker Vincent Hecht takes us inside Toyo Ito's Tama Art University Library. The project is notable for its effortless geometry, with the entire building comprising a series of simple concrete arches which, when combined, create a complex "emergent grid" which allowed for great flexibility in the building's plan. Hecht's video shows how this geometry works in practice, as the elements of the library snake through the building's light, open interior.

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