Japan is famous for its radical residential architecture. But as Tokyo architect Alastair Townsend explains, its penchant for avant garde housing may be driven by the country’s bizarre real estate economics, as much as its designers’ creativity.
Here on ArchDaily, we see a steady stream of radical Japanese houses. These homes, mostly designed by young architects, often elicit readers’ bewilderment. It can seem that in Japan, anything is permissible: stairs and balconies without handrails, rooms flagrantly cast open to their surroundings, or homes with no windows at all.
These whimsical, ironic, or otherwise extreme living propositions arrest readers’ attention, baiting us to ask: WTF Japan? The photos travel the blogosphere and social networks under their own momentum, garnering global exposure and international validation for Japan’s outwardly shy, yet media-savvy architects. Afterall, in Japan – the country with the most registered architects per capita – standing out from the crowd is the key to getting ahead for young designers. But what motivates their clients, who opt for such eccentric expressions of lifestyle?
The mid-century modern master, Richard Neutra was well known for his cutting edge modernism. Since Julius Shulman immortalized his houses in his iconic photographs, Neutra’s bright, airy homes have widely been seen as the pinnacle of modernism and desirability. One problem though, they’re in high demand and it’s not exactly like they’re making any more Neutra buildings; in fact, quite the opposite is true and as a result they have become a pretty expensive commodity.
Read more about how to get your very own Neutra home after the break…
Graphic designer and curator Kenya Hara has put together a three week-long exhibition in Tokyo focusing on the future of the Japanese house. Hara argues that the housing industry can no longer be isolated but must be combined with other industries, technologies and ideas, including energy, transportation, communication, household appliances, the “vision of happiness” pursued by adults, the representation of Japanese traditions and aesthetics as well as a future vision of health. All of these elements he hopes to present and discuss at the House Vision Exhibition where more than ten types of futuristic houses are on display and daily seminars with expert urban planners, developers, contractors, architects, telecom and even gas organizations have been taking place.
Read more about the exhibition after the break.
This is an update from the project already published in 2008 from slovenian architects OFIS arhitekti. In the words of the architects: “This project involved the extension of a 19th-century villa located in a beautiful Alpine resort next to Lake Bled. Both the old villa and the landscape were strictly regulated by the National Heritage.”