ArchiWEB Explorer: Japan

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Brutal-ish: Japan’s Long, Dramatic Love Affair with Concrete Architecture

[ By SA Rogers in Architecture & Cities & Urbanism. ]

Japanese architecture may be most closely associated with natural, lightweight materials like wood and paper, but Japan is also home to some of the world’s most incredible concrete architecture, and the two styles aren’t as disparate as they first appear. The nation’s love for a seemingly cold, unyielding material evolved out of resilience after war and natural disasters, and though the character of concrete contrasts with the organic sensibilities of tatami mats, shoji screens and hand-hewn timber, it’s not necessarily at odds with it.

Buildings in Japan are often engineered to be disposable, with an average lifespan of 25 years. Frequent earthquakes and high humidity take a heavy toll on architecture, without a doubt (though this limit was actually imposed by the country’s Land Ministry to boost the economy). Of course, not every building in Japan is razed for a new beginning after a seemingly arbitrary period of time – but the high turnover does increase demand for young architects, stimulating creative experimentation.

London Design Festival exhibition shines a light on Japanese metalwork masters

Japan House exhibits metalwork masters for London Design Festival

The work of expert metalworkers from the northwest of Japan is on show in an exhibition for London Design Festival. Read more

How Cities have Rebuilt from the Ashes

Image via PXHere Image via PXHere

Every city has a story. Throughout history, many natural and man-made changes have altered the way cities were originally laid out. For some, the urban form developed as a result of political disputes, religious separations, or class divides. For others, a more mixed approach has allowed for uniquely mixed cultural atmospheres. And while development of cities is typically slow, occasionally cities experience dramatic and immediate changes to the urban fabric - the results of natural disaster, military conflict, or industrial catastrophe.

What happens next - if anything - can reveal a great deal about not just the city itself, but the local culture. Do cities rebuild exactly as they were? Or do they use disaster as an opportunity to reinvent themselves? The following is a roundup of cities that have moved past catastrophe to be reborn from the ashes.

Berlin

Life and Aesthetics Experience in Phoenix Mansion / gad

Courtesy of gad Courtesy of gad
  • Architects: gad
  • Location: Feng Qi Lu, Xiacheng Qu, Hangzhou Shi, Zhejiang Sheng, China
  • Landscape Design: Ueyakato Landscape, Suzhou Institute of Landscape Architecture Design
  • Interior Design: Carlisle Design Studio, Burega Farnell (L.A.)
  • Area: 2127.0 m2
  • Project Year: 2017
  • Photographs: Yi Fan
© Yi Fan © Yi Fan

Foreword: Recall and Expectation, Dialogue and Codependence
If the city is a mixture between new and old, then the time is moments gathering in the city corner, hidden, but pure. Separating city’s cutting section, dialogue and codependence in diverse tenses can be found. We are making great efforts in recall and expectation, looking back shows hidden impressions, and looking forward embraces a promising future at present.

These Are The Architects Who Represented Mexico, Chile & Puerto Rico in the Art Omi Residency in New York

Jesús López. Image © Art Omi Jesús López. Image © Art Omi

Art Omi is a non-profit organization located in Ghent, New York that works to create a space for the artistic community. This organization is focused on providing architects a space to experiment and come into contact with other perspectives. Art Omi was born from the absence of residency programs for architects in the United States; a space designed by architects for architects.

The Art Omi architecture program is structured on four pillars: an architectural field of sixty acres where participants can deploy and experience pavilions and facilities designed by architects; the second is a curated series of indoor exhibitions at the Benenson Center; the third is an annual event outside the campus, in Manhattan, that seeks to link theory and practice; and finally, the most recent addition which is the residency program.

Spotlight: Tadao Ando

Church of the Light. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/hetgacom/22029029686'>Flickr user hetgacom</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/'>CC BY-SA 2.0</a> Church of the Light. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/hetgacom/22029029686'>Flickr user hetgacom</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/'>CC BY-SA 2.0</a>

As the recipient of the 1995 Pritzker Prize, Tadao Ando (born 13 September 1941) is highly regarded for his unparalleled work with concrete, sensitive treatment of natural light, and strong engagement with nature. Based in Osaka, Japan, Ando's ascetic yet rich version of modernism resonates with the traditional Japanese conception of architecture, and has caused him to be regularly referred to as a "critical regionalist."

ºC (Do-C) Gotanda / Jo Nagasaka + Schemata Architects

© Nacasa & Partners Inc © Nacasa & Partners Inc

Beehive House / Jima Design

© Kazushi Hirano © Kazushi Hirano
  • Architects: Jima Design
  • Location: Shioya, Sumoto, Hyōgo Prefecture 656-0021, Japan
  • Lead Architects: Satoshi Higashijima
  • Builder: Masaki Constructions
  • Area: 185.0 m2
  • Project Year: 2011
  • Photographs: Kazushi Hirano
© Kazushi Hirano © Kazushi Hirano

Text description provided by the architects. The Beehive House is a home designed to stimulate the mind and the body. It incorporates a beehive structure and the overall design is based on the traditional Japanese Castle.

House in Mita / Horibe Associates

© Yohei Sasakura © Yohei Sasakura
© Yohei Sasakura © Yohei Sasakura

Text description provided by the architects. Plan for a residence in the southern part of Osaka.

The site is located close to nature, with a large wooded area directly in front and many rice fields nearby. The wooded area sits between the site and a main road, meaning it provides not only a natural backdrop, but also a buffer which reduces noise and increases privacy.