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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

Hiroshi Sambuichi Wins 2018 Daylight Award for His "Timeless, Fluid" Treatment of Light

04:00 - 21 May, 2018
Hiroshi Sambuichi Wins 2018 Daylight Award for His "Timeless, Fluid" Treatment of Light , The Water - Installation in the Cisterns of Frederiksberg. Image © Jens Markus Lindhe
The Water - Installation in the Cisterns of Frederiksberg. Image © Jens Markus Lindhe

Hiroshi Sambuichi's approach to a site entails long-term study and reflection upon the qualities and forces of nature embedded within. His understanding is “deeper and with a finer grain,” explains American architect and member of The Daylight Award jury James Carpenter as one of several reasons why Sambuichi was recently announced as the latest laureate of the nearly 50-year-old Daylight Award in 2018. In Sambuichi's hands, “light becomes timeless, fluid and rich.”

7 Architects Create 7 New Community Spaces Beneath a Disused Japanese Overpass

08:00 - 17 May, 2018
7 Architects Create 7 New Community Spaces Beneath a Disused Japanese Overpass, © Laurian Ghinitoiu
© Laurian Ghinitoiu

A +100 meter stretch of land beneath a train overpass in Koganecho, a district of Yokohama, Japan, underwent a progressive refurbishment in which seven different types of community space, each designed by a different architect, were built within a pre-set spatial grid. Historically there were many social issues in the area, largely in relation to its profitable but dangerous black market and red-light district. Once the illegal activity was eradicated in 2005, the underpass presented a great opportunity for social re-development, and the resultant project - the Koganecho Centre - emphasized an age-old Japanese cultural commitment, where what was once broken is used to make something new. 

Japanese Pavilion at 2018 Venice Biennale, to Address Accessibility to Resources

04:00 - 10 May, 2018
Japanese Pavilion at 2018 Venice Biennale, to Address Accessibility to Resources, A Drawing from A Little Bit of Beijing: 798
A Drawing from A Little Bit of Beijing: 798

As part of our 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale coverage we present the proposal for the Japan Pavilion. Below, the participants describe their contribution in their own words.

Moriyuki Ochiai Architects Designs Tea Houses Perfect for Stargazing

08:00 - 6 May, 2018
Moriyuki Ochiai Architects Designs Tea Houses Perfect for Stargazing, © Fumio Araki, Yuta Takahashi
© Fumio Araki, Yuta Takahashi

Japan-based Moriyuki Ochiai Architects have designed a cluster of tea rooms located in a rural area known as Bisei, in the Okayama Prefecture. This town is known as both the place where green tea was introduced to Japan and as a "sanctuary for stargazing", which inspired the firm's design to create a strong connection between the tea rooms and the surrounding scenery. 

A Studio Ghibli Theme Park is Coming to Japan in 2022

14:00 - 3 May, 2018
A Studio Ghibli Theme Park is Coming to Japan in 2022, The Big Ghibli Warehouse. Image Courtesy of Studio Ghibli / Aichi Prefecture
The Big Ghibli Warehouse. Image Courtesy of Studio Ghibli / Aichi Prefecture

Studio Ghibli Theme Park is Coming to Japan in 2022. New images released by Studio Ghibli and Aichi Prefecture showcase the park themed around the Japanese animation film studio, best known for its anime feature films. Located on a 200-hectare area of land previously used to host the 2005 World’s Fair, the park seeks to “inherit the philosophy of the World Expo to the next generation,” with an emphasis placed on leisure, walking, and history.

This "Human Laser Cutter" Precisely Models Fruits With Amazing Geometric Designs

08:00 - 4 April, 2018
This "Human Laser Cutter" Precisely Models Fruits With Amazing Geometric Designs, via Instagram user gakugakugakugakugaku1
via Instagram user gakugakugakugakugaku1

I happened to be in architecture school when the laser cutter was still a bit of a novelty for the inexperienced students in their first years of study. Sure, it saved you a lot up-close-and-personal-time with the X-Acto knife, but to unlock the true potential of the laser cutter one had to introduce a level of detail into the design or model that would otherwise be a nightmare to create by hand. 

Japan Plans for Supertall Wooden Skyscraper in Tokyo by 2041

16:30 - 15 February, 2018
Japan Plans for Supertall Wooden Skyscraper in Tokyo by 2041, © Sumitomo Forestry Co.
© Sumitomo Forestry Co.

Timber tower construction is the current obsession of architects, with new projects claiming to be the world’s next tallest popping up all over the globe. But this latest proposal from Japanese company Sumitomo Forestry Co. and architects Nikken Sekkei would blow everything else out of the water, as they have announced plans for the world’s first supertall wood structured skyscraper in Tokyo.

This Unique Instagram Showcases the Bizarre Variety of Japanese Public Restrooms

09:30 - 10 February, 2018
This Unique Instagram Showcases the Bizarre Variety of Japanese Public Restrooms, via @toilets_a_go_go
via @toilets_a_go_go

When looking back on the rich history of Japanese architecture, some of the things that immediately come to mind are complex wood joinery, hipped roofs and intimate experiences with water. Today, Japan is on the cutting edge of architectural innovation in many different buildling types—skyscrapers, office buildings and micro-housing to name a few. However, this Instagram account chooses to highlight an extremely unappreciated building type—public restrooms.

Over 30 Architectural Projects Represented In One 3D Object

08:00 - 11 December, 2017
Over 30 Architectural Projects Represented In One 3D Object, Courtesy of Fumio Matsumoto
Courtesy of Fumio Matsumoto

Architect and Project Professor at The University of Tokyo, Fumio Matsumoto put together more than 30 iconic buildings into a single 3D printed object called, “Memories of Architecture.” Façades, exterior forms, interior spaces, and structures of significant architectural works were reproduced at 1:300 scale and merged together in order from old to new.

Hiroshi Sambuichi: "I Take Something that People Already Like, and Make Them Even More Aware of It"

09:30 - 19 November, 2017
Hiroshi Sambuichi: "I Take Something that People Already Like, and Make Them Even More Aware of It", Courtesy of Louisiana Channel
Courtesy of Louisiana Channel

In this extended interview from the Louisiana Channel, Japanese architect and experimentalist in sustainable architecture Hiroshi Sambuichi explains how he integrates natural moving materials—sun, water and air—into his architecture. A rare symbiosis of science and nature, each of his buildings are specific to the site and focus on the best orientation and form to harness the power of Earth’s energy, particularly wind. Two of his projects displayed in the video, the Inujima Seirensho Art Museum and the Orizuru Tower, force a contraction of air to make it flow faster and circulate with you through the building, while the Naoshima Hall takes a more sensitive approach due to the nature of the building, reducing the wind’s velocity as it passes.

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