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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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Public Redevelopment for the City of Tokyo by Heatherwick Studio

11:00 - 22 August, 2019
Public Redevelopment for the City of Tokyo by Heatherwick Studio , East Entrance. Image Courtesy of Heatherwick Studio l DBox
East Entrance. Image Courtesy of Heatherwick Studio l DBox

Heatherwick Studio’s first built venture in Japan is a huge planted pergola, put in place to create a new hub for the district of Toranomon-Azabudai in Tokyo, Japan. The project is due for completion in March 2023.

Award-Winning Design of Tokyo Music Hall Transforms Roof into a Public Plaza

06:00 - 4 August, 2019
Award-Winning Design of Tokyo Music Hall Transforms Roof into a Public Plaza, © Hajizadeh & Associates
© Hajizadeh & Associates

Although music halls generally appeal to groups of people with a specific interest, Persian architecture firm Hajizadeh & Associates developed a music hall that caters to all citizens of the city, and not just music lovers.

Spotlight: Arata Isozaki

04:30 - 23 July, 2019
Spotlight: Arata Isozaki, Qatar National Convention Centre. Image © Nelson Garrido
Qatar National Convention Centre. Image © Nelson Garrido

Japanese architect, teacher, and theorist Arata Isozaki (born 23 July, 1931) helped bring Japanese influence to some of the most prestigious buildings of the 20th century, and continues to work at the highest level today. Initially working in a distinctive form of modernism, Isozaki developed his own thoughts and theories on architecture into a complex style that invokes pure shape and space as much as it evokes post-modern ideas. Highly adaptable and socially concerned, his work has been acclaimed for being sensitive to context while still making statements of its own.

Tokyo Travel Diary: Architecture and Manga

10:00 - 6 July, 2019
Tokyo Travel Diary: Architecture and Manga, Montagem feita a partir dos desenhos cedidos pelos autores. . Image Cortesia de a+t architecture publishers
Montagem feita a partir dos desenhos cedidos pelos autores. . Image Cortesia de a+t architecture publishers

Traveling around Japan can be an impressive experience for a Western tourist - especially if they have some connection with architecture. In addition to the huge cultural differences, the country is known for its rich architectural production - eight of the 42 Pritzker Prize laureates are Japanese - which has maintained its consistency since the 1960s.

Discover 20 Years of Tokyo's Development Through the Lens of Peter M. Cook

05:00 - 6 May, 2019
Discover 20 Years of Tokyo's Development Through the Lens of Peter M. Cook, © Peter M. Cook
© Peter M. Cook

British architectural photographer Peter M. Cook has documented the city of Tokyo and its evolution for more than twenty years. Following the development of the city and its buildings with a large-format camera, Cook's first book of photographs have been published by Hatje Cantz Verlag with 100 shots. The monochromatic, large-format photographs reveal a story of one of the world's most iconic cities.

When Sunlight Meets Tadao Ando’s Concrete

06:30 - 18 April, 2019
When Sunlight Meets Tadao Ando’s Concrete, Vitra Conference Pavilion, Weil am Rhein / Germany. Image © Vitra, by Richard Bryant
Vitra Conference Pavilion, Weil am Rhein / Germany. Image © Vitra, by Richard Bryant

If there is any consistent factor in his work, says Pritzker-winning architect Tadao Ando, then it is the pursuit of light. Ando’s complex choreography of light fascinates most when the viewer experiences the sensitive transitions within his architecture. Sometimes walls wait calmly for the moment to reveal striking shadow patterns, and other times water reflections animate unobtrusively solid surfaces. His combination of traditional Japanese architecture with a vocabulary of modernism has contributed greatly to critical regionalism. While he is concerned with individual solutions that have a respect for local sites and contexts Ando’s famous buildings – such as the Church of the Light, Koshino House or the Water Temple – link the notion of regional identity with a modern imagining of space, material and light. Shoji walls with diffuse light are reinterpreted in the context of another culture, for instance, filtered through the lens of Rome’s ancient Pantheon, where daylight floods through an oculus. Ando’s masterly imagination culminates in planning spatial sequences of light and dark like he envisioned for the Fondation d’Art Contemporain François Pinault in Paris.

Skyscrapers of 2018: Soaring Beyond the Archetypal Crystal Tower

07:00 - 14 December, 2018
Skyscrapers of 2018: Soaring Beyond the Archetypal Crystal Tower, © Viktor Sukharukov
© Viktor Sukharukov

Either as singular outcroppings or as part of a bustling center, skyscrapers are neck-craning icons across major city centers in the world. A modern trope of extreme success and wealth, the skyscraper has become an architectural symbol for vibrant urban hubs and commercial powerhouses dominating cities like New York, Dubai, and Singapore.

Japan's Bet on Adaptive Reuse to Alleviate an Emerging Housing Crisis

07:30 - 13 December, 2018
Japan's Bet on Adaptive Reuse to Alleviate an Emerging Housing Crisis, via Flickr. Image © Bo Nielsen
via Flickr. Image © Bo Nielsen

Half a century after the new suburban tract home was the dream of many a young American family, refurbished properties are gaining in popularity. This trend extends beyond North America, with exciting renovations of existing structures popping up all over the world, from Belgium to Kenya to China. The attraction to this typology likely lies in its multiplicity; renovations are both new and old, historic and forward-looking, generative and sustainable. 

These Crafted Bookends are Inspired by the Alleyways of Tokyo

11:00 - 4 December, 2018
These Crafted Bookends are Inspired by the Alleyways of Tokyo, © <a href='https://twitter.com/monde55212068'>Twitter user mode</a>
© Twitter user mode

Tokyo-based designer monde has created a series of bookends inspired by the narrow back alleys of Tokyo. As described by My Modern Met, the bookends convey the “dizzying feeling of wandering the city’s back alleys” through a mixture of laser-cut wood and lighting.

Clouds AO Unveils Floating Space Lab in Japan

05:00 - 15 November, 2018
Clouds AO Unveils Floating Space Lab in Japan, AVATAR X LAB. Image Courtesy of Clouds AO
AVATAR X LAB. Image Courtesy of Clouds AO

Clouds Architecture Office have revealed a new design for a space research lab that floats above a crater in Oita, Japan. Called AVATAR X LAB, the design was made for ANA Holdings Inc. and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. The lab aims to be part of ANA's AVATAR Vision, an endeavor to advance and pioneer real-world Avatar technologies, and JAXA's new research and development program J-SPARC. The lab was designed to advance understanding of space exploration and development.

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