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.
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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.
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.
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.
The Naoshima Pavilion by Sou Fujimoto is one of the more recent additions to the world-renowned "Art Island," and is located only meters away from Naoshima's boat terminal (designed by SANAA). The lightweight, highly-transparent mesh-like steel structure was conceived and constructed for the 2016 Setouchi Triennial. Photographer Laurian Ghinitoiu has turned his lens to the project which, in spite of its modest size, casts a striking silhouette on the island's coastline.
Rising sea levels, and the potential of extreme conditions globally, are threatening coastal cities around the world. While the Netherlands are often considered to be leading the engineering battle against the tides, Japan—with a renewed sense of urgency—are investing heavily in high-end systems and infrastructure to protect their largest metropoli.
Ancestral, vernacular and minimalist; for many, these three words have come to define the architecture of Japan, a country that has served as a source of cultural and technological inspiration to countless cultures.
When a city really becomes one with the air, water and sun I am sure that people will feel the vitality of this. To create cities where this is not lost is a very important message I want to convey to the world.
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