Tokyo’s Modernist Gem, Hotel Okura, To Be Demolished

Courtesy of Wikipedia

Talk about Modernist Japanese architecture, and you can hardly fail to bring up Tokyo‘s Hotel Okura. Built in 1962 under the design direction of Yoshiro Taniguchi, Hideo Kosaka, Shiko Munakata, and Kenkichi Tomimoto, the hotel has long been a landmark not only for the city, but for Japan. Now, however, the hotel’s owners have decided that the main building for the hotel will be demolished in September of 2015, with a new hotel taking its place. To learn more – including how to sign the petition for preservation – keep reading after the break.

KORO House / Katsutoshi Sasaki + Associates

Courtesy of Katsutoshi Sasaki + Associates

Architects: Katsutoshi Sasaki + Associates
Location: , Aichi Prefecture,
Area: 68 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Courtesy of Katsutoshi Sasaki + Associates

Sunomata / Keitaro Muto

© Teruaki Yoshiike

Architects: Keitaro Muto
Location: Ogaki, , Tohaku District, Tottori Prefecture, Japan
Area: 186 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Teruaki Yoshiike

Mino Nursery School 7 / Atelier Zo

Courtesy of

Architects: Atelier Zo
Location: Mino, Gifu Prefecture,
Area: 473.0 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Courtesy of Kosei Kumoyama, Keiko Hirota, Sawazaki Kensetsu, Atelier ZO

House in Nishimikuni / Arbol Design

© Yasunori Shimomura

Architects: Arbol Design
Location: Nishimikuni, , Osaka,
Area: 92 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Yasunori Shimomura

House for Viewing the Mountain / Kawashima Mayumi Architects Design

© Toshiyuki Yano

Architects: Kawashima Mayumi Architects Design
Location: , Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan
Architect In Charge: Mayumi Kawashima
Area: 109.0 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Toshiyuki Yano

Cosmic / UID

© Hiroshi Ueda

Architects: UID
Location:
Architect In Charge: Keisuke Maeda
Area: 611 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Hiroshi Ueda, Courtesy of

Steven Holl Named 2014 Praemium Imperiale Laureate

© Mark Heithoff

The Japan Art Association (JAA) has named American architect Steven Holl as the 2014 Praemium Imperiale Laureate for Architecture. Holl will be honored at a ceremony in on October 15th. The jury’s citation states that Holl’s ”works are internationally highly regarded, primarily as a result of his philosophy regarding the unification of the “experience” of space, as depicted by color and light, with the history and culture of each site of construction.”

Since its inauguration in 1989, the annual global arts award has recognised “outstanding contributions to the development, promotion and progress of the arts” in the fields of architecture, painting, sculpture, music and theater/film. Only a small handful of architects have received this award, including James Stirling, Tadao Ando, Alvaro Siza, Richard Rogers, Jean Nouvel, Toyo Ito, Zaha Hadid, Peter Zumthor, David Chipperfield, and Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron.

House in Otori / Arbol Design

© Yohei Sasakura

Architects: Arbol Design
Location: , Osaka Prefecture, Japan
Area: 86 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Yohei Sasakura

Shonen Junk / studio 201

© Kenta Hasegawa (OFP)

Architects: studio 201
Location: , 〒150-0001 , Shibuya, Jingumae, 5 Chome−2−25 5・2・25ビル
Interior Design: Manabu Okano[studio201](Architect)
Area: 103.0 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Kenta Hasegawa (OFP)

Kashiwa-no-ha Open Innovation Lab / Naruse Inokuma Architects

© Masao Nishikawa

Architects: Naruse Inokuma Architects
Location: 178 Wakashiba, , Chiba,
Art Direction: LEMONLIFE & CO
Area: 2576.0 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Masao Nishikawa

In The Real World: The Consequences of Modernity in Japan at the Venice Biennale

 “We were sensitive to the way in which society was becoming more consumption-oriented and gave serious thought to how we ought to respond to that change without simply accommodating ourselves to it.” -Toyo Ito
“I was entering a dead world, which would never see the light of the day. I wanted to treat that dead world as if it were alive, or to put it another way, to try to create a different reality.” - Terunobu Fujimori

Under the title of Fundamentals, Koolhaas’ Biennale asked national pavilions to focus on their respective countries’ relationships with modernity, the movement that has, for better or worse, shaped the contemporary city. In the case of , modernity was expressed in a unique way, as architecture was instrumental to the rapid industrialization and growth that the country experienced after World War II. This growth resulted in the first architectural avant-garde outside of the Western world. By the 70s, as this movement reached its peak, local architects, historians, artists and urbanists began to look at modernism in a critical way, questioning its impact.

In “The Real World,” the Japan exhibit at the Biennale, curator unearths how this critical movement expressed itself through Osamu Ishiyama, Toyo Ito, Terunobu Fujimori, and other Japanese masters whose works strove to connect to the human of “the real world” rather than contribute to the failed utopias of modernism. Interviews with this group of architects bring to light the desire that they had to positively impact society, and how they attempted to materialize that desire in their early works. The objects found inside the pavilion articulate the storytelling behind the process, leaving their interpretation open to visitors.

“You’ve got to try to make an impact on the times you live in, and you’ve got to do it through your work, not through words.” – Osamu Ushiyama
“Actual objects continue to possess tremendous energy – much more so than photographs or models.” – Tsutomu Ichiki

More about the “In the Real World” after the break:

Niigata City Konan Ward Cultural Center / Chiaki Arai Urban and Architecture Design

© Taisuke Ogawa

Architects: Chiaki Arai Urban and Architecture Design
Location: Niigata,
Area: 5002.0 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Taisuke Ogawa, Kouichi Satake,

Hikariniwa House / MTKarchitects

© Yuko Tada

Architects: MTKarchitects
Location: , Nagano,
Architect In Charge: Akira Metoki
Area: 128 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Yuko Tada

Kadare Cultural Centre / Chiaki Arai Urban and Architecture Design

© Taisuke Ogawa

Architects: Chiaki Arai Urban and Architecture Design
Location: Yurihonjō, Akita,
Area: 11750.0 sqm
Year: 2011
Photographs: Taisuke Ogawa

Akiha Ward Cultural Center / Chiaki Arai Urban and Architecture Design

© Taisuke Ogawa

Architects: Chiaki Arai Urban and Architecture Design
Location: 4 Shineicho, , , Japan
Area: 2997.0 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Taisuke Ogawa

Aesop Grand Front Osaka / Torafu Architects

© Takumi Ota

Architects: Torafu Architects
Location: Ofukacho, , Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 530-0011,
Area: 48.0 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Takumi Ota

House in Kitaoji / Torafu Architects

© Daici Ano

Architects: Torafu Architects
Location: Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture,
Area: 134 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Daici Ano