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.
  1. ArchDaily
  2. Countries
  3. Japan

Latest projects in Japan

Latest news in Japan

An Abstract Chapel in Portugal and a Museum in Iran: 10 Unbuilt Projects Featuring Concrete Designs

A cornerstone of architectural innovation for centuries, concrete has transformed the structural capabilities of buildings worldwide. As one of the more versatile and durable building materials, concrete has aided architects and engineers in pushing the traditional boundaries of design. Today, it is the most widely used construction material on the planet. According to the Guardian, concrete is also a “lifestyle concept,” using its “gritty, urban” aesthetic to shape the imagination of all our architectures at every scale.

Japanese Architecture Offices Through the Lens of Marc Goodwin

Continuing his work exploring the office spaces of architecture studios from around the world, Archmospheres photographer Marc Goodwin has reached Japan, where he captured the workspace of architecture studios such as Kengo Kuma & Associates, Tato Architects, Akihisa Hirata, and Nori Architects. Collaborating with Marc Goodwin, architect, and writer Samuel Michaëlsson traveled to Japan in the autumn of 2019 to interview the participants, resulting in a series of videos that further developed the exploration.

Creating Harmony with the Place: In Conversation with Kengo Kuma

The 3rd edition of Shaping the City, a forum on sustainable urban development, took place in Venice between November 24-25, following successful events in Chicago and New Orleans. Organized by the European Cultural Centre, this forum was running in parallel to the 2023 Venice Architecture Biennial exhibition, Time Space Existence. The event, hosted at Palazzo Michiel del Brusà in Cannaregio, brings together global urban planners, architects, academics, and politicians. Notably, Japanese architect Kengo Kuma was among the experts invited to explore the intersection of nature and the built environment in Japanese architecture.

When Sunlight Meets Tadao Ando’s Concrete

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.

Japan's Tallest Skyscraper: Pelli Clarke & Partners Completes Tokyo's Mori JP Tower

Pelli Clarke & Partners has just completed the Mori JP Tower, now standing as Japan’s tallest building. Situated in the recently revitalized Azabudai Hills district, the tower emerges at the center of this development. Establishing a new focal point for Tokyo’s skyline, the building soars 330 meters at the heart of this dynamic new mixed-use district in the city center.

Interview with Sadafumi Uchiyama: Designing Peace and Harmony

Sadafumi (Sada) Uchiyama, ASLA, is Curator Emeritus of Portland Japanese Garden. Before his retirement, Uchiyama served as Chief Curator from 2021 to 2023. Uchiyama is a third-generation Japanese gardener from southern Japan, where his family has been involved in gardening for over a century. In addition to his background as a gardener born and trained in Japan, Uchiyama is also a registered landscape architect in Oregon and California, with Bachelor’s and Master’s of Landscape Architecture degrees from the University of Illinois. This interview was conducted at the ASLA 2021 Conference on Landscape Architecture in Nashville.

LAVA Unveils Winged Design for Kuwait’s Pavilion at World Expo Osaka 2025

The State of Kuwait has revealed the design of the upcoming Kuwait Pavilion to take shape at World Expo 2025 in Osaka. Designed by architectural firm LAVA (Laboratory for Visionary Architecture), the temporary structure is envisioned as a “Visionary Lighthouse” representing Kuwait’s embrace of Arab cultures, arts, and social works. The pavilion, developed with main partner and contractor NUSSLI, also offers a response to the exhibition’s overarching theme, "Designing Future Society for our Lives", striving to strengthen the relationship between Kuwait and Japan and foster conversations about visions of a sustainable future.

A Look Back at the 9 Japanese Architects Honored with the Pritzker Prize

Last week, Japanese architect and social advocate Riken Yamamoto was announced as the 2024 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate, becoming the 9th Japanese architect honored with the profession’s most prestigious award. Throughout the 45-year history of the Pritzker Prize, Japan stands out as the nation with the highest number of laureates. While geography is not a criterion in the selection of the laureates, Japanese architecture consistently impresses with its interplay of light and shadow, the careful composition of spaces, soft transitions between interior and exterior, and attention to detail and materiality. An ingrained culture of building also celebrates diverse designs and encourages global dialogue and the exchange of ideas and best practices. Read on to rediscover the 9 Japanese Pritzker laureates and glimpse into their body of work.

Watch 2024 Pritzker Prize Winner Riken Yamamoto Explain his Creative Process and Architectural Journey

Last week, Japanese architect and social advocate, Riken Yamamoto, was selected as the 2024 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate, the 53rd honoree of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, and the ninth architect from Japan to receive this recognition. With a body of built works that spans five decades, ranging from private residences to large-scale housing complexes, educational institutions, and civic spaces, scattered around Japan, China, South Korea, and Switzerland, Yamamoto's architecture is focused on building community and blurring the boundaries between the public and private spheres. In a series of videos produced by the Pritzker Prize, the architect goes back to the fundamentals and discusses the threshold system, transparency, community, and the landscape.

Riken Yamamoto: Get to Know the 2024 Pritzker Winner's Work

This year's Pritzker Prize has been awarded to Riken Yamamoto, a Beijing-born architect who shortly after World War II established himself in Yokohama, Japan where he would develop a profound interest in architecture and how it could shape the lives of individuals and society. Yamamoto founded his practice, Riken Yamamoto & Field Shop, in 1973, only five years after graduating from ​​Nihon University, Department of Architecture, College of Science and Technology, and after receiving his Master of Arts in Architecture from Tokyo University of the Arts, Faculty of Architecture in 1971. Since then, Yamamoto has been a professor and visiting professor in various universities and institutions including the Kogakuin University Department of Architecture, the Yokohama Graduate School of Architecture, and the Tokyo University of the Arts.