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.
According to Hara, the big idea behind the event is the integration of Japan's superior electronic appliances and technologies into a larger network: the house, which will operate as a "huge, autonomous electrical appliance" on its own. At the same time, however, Hara is careful not to forget Japan's rich traditions and past housing typologies.
“Here is a good example of taking advantage of Japanese traditional housing [while still moving forward]," he says. "Take the habit of taking off [one's] shoes at the entrance [of a house]. 'The high-tech entrance' could possibly manage our physical data, such as pulse, blood pressure, temperature and weight. The bed and carpet capture these data and send them to the hospital for the purpose of health control. This illustrates the possibility of the 'future-style house,' in which [even] the intelligent 'bed' could directly dialogize with the human body.”
This kind of house may seem far-fetched and even impossible to many, but the exhibition's curator is confident that these technologies already exist or can easily come into existence - it's only a matter of manipulating the technology that we already have and integrating it into the house interface. Hara foresees this new kind of lifestyle being attractive to younger generations of Japanese as they begin to formulate their own definitive way of living and interacting with their home environment.
These ideas can and will have global implications, as well. Although Hara shies away from the idea of aggressively mass-producing and shipping the future Japanese house prototype overseas, there is much that the world can learn from this meeting of innovative and forward-thinking minds. All developing nations face the same issues of density and conservation of nonrenewable resources, something the Japanese evidently have a special knack at tackling and re-imagining. As architect Shigeru Ban explains in the following video, responsible construction and material use have long been at the top of his and Japan's agenda.
The exhibit includes work by not only Shigeru Ban, but also Kengo Kuma, Toyo Ito and many others. Each house has been built to the 1:1 scale, allowing visitors to physically experience and reflect on each design. Each day includes stimulating seminars with these architects and designers as well as larger Japanese institutions, such as the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. The exhibition runs until March 24th.
While the exhibition focuses on the future of Japan's housing industry and will resonate profoundly with native visitors, non-Japanese can surely stop to reflect on their own national experiences. Hopefully they will begin to envision a technologically savvy future for their own homes that still embraces the culture and traditions of their unique, personal histories.
See what's happening this weekend at House Vision here.