Blog

Sun

23

Apr

2017

[2017] Mayekawa Kunio and the National Diet Library

Being asked the following question:

"I'm a Professor of History of Book and Libraries. I'm looking for the name of architects of National Diet Library, of the Main Building and the Annexe Building. It's very important to us to know about the history of Japanese libraries architecture."

 

My reply as follows:

 

Thank you for your interest in Japanese architecture.

 

Generally both buildings are attributed to the design offices of Kunio Mayekawa (1905 - 1986), MAYEKAWA KUNIO ASSOCIATES, ARCHITECTS & ENGINEERS and a second design office with the name MIDO DOUJIN.

The official website of the succeeding office http://www.maekawa-assoc.co.jp/index-en.htm

 

To prevent any confusion with information from other sources, here is some more additional info.

 

(1) You may also encounter the romanized version Maekawa for his surname, without the 'y', which is more 'in line' with modern romanization systems, though the office used and still uses the 'y', if not in the website address, but in all the content of the site.

 

(2) Beside the official office name above you may also encounter other names like MAEKAWA KUNIO BUILDING DESIGN OFFICE, which is simply a word by word translation of the Japanese office name 前川国男建築設計事務所, romanized: Maekawa Kunio Kenchiku Sekkei Jimusho, though this is not used by the office itself.

 

(3) About MIDO DOUJIN, Japanese: ミド同人, romanized: Mido Doujin, this is a follow-up organization of the MAYEKAWA INSTITUTE OF DESIGN, Japanese: 前川設計研究所, romanized: Maekawa Sekkei Kenkyusho. More historical information on the many different offices can be found here (sorry Japanese only), www.jia.or.jp/topics/planning/2001/06_01-02.htm

 

(4) Regarding the National Diet Library Main Building, some official information from MLIT, the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, http://www.mlit.go.jp/gobuild/gobuild_fr6_000032.html, also mentioning the staff designers in charge

-> design selected in a competition in 1953 (Showa 28)

-> designed by staff Makoto Tanaka and Masato Otaka of MAYEKAWA KUNIO ASSOCIATES, ARCHITECTS & ENGINEERS + 18 staff of MIDO DOUJIN

-> 1st phase completed in 1961 (Showa 36), 2nd phase in 1968 (Showa 43)

 

(5) Regarding the National Diet Library Annex, sometimes called the NDL New Building which is a direct translation of the Japanese: 国立国会図書館新館, romanized: Kokuritsu Kokkai Toshokan Shinkan, further literature sources of the time include the architecture magazine KENCHIKU BUNKA 1986.11 pp.21-42 and SHINKENCHIKU 1986.11 pp.195-206https://rnavi.ndl.go.jp/research_guide/entry/theme-honbun-101098.php

-> designed by MAYEKAWA KUNIO ASSOCIATES, ARCHITECTS & ENGINEERS + staff Junichi Nakata of MIDO DOUJIN
Sincerely,
Robert Baum
0 Comments

Sun

21

Aug

2016

[2016] Summer additions

added:

* individual pages for all missing Yearbooks starting with JA 24 - Yearbook 1996 up to JA 96 - Yearbook 2014

* completed addition of all projects of JA 52 - Yearbook 2003

* cover images for most Shinkenchiku starting from 1950 up to 2016

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Sat

24

Jan

2015

[2015] Winter additions

added:

 

* all projects of Shinkenchiku 3/2004 and 4/2004.

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Sat

06

Dec

2014

[2014] Autumn additions

added

* all projects of Shinkenchiku 07/2005 and 09/2005,

* Michel Desvigne, French landscape architect who collaborated with Kuma on Banraisha at Keio University,

* Michael Graves, American architect and one of the New York Five, who built many projects in Fukuoka.

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Sun

20

Apr

2014

[2014] Kunihiko Hayakawa

Undertook a major revamp with the page about the architect Kunihiko Hayakawa.

The first buildings by Hayakawa that I saw, I discovered by coincidence during one of my urban walks in Tokyo, at that time in Setagaya ward.

Today's revamp of the page started with the purchase of a book about the architect, a special feature of SD Space Design published by Kajima Institute Publishing in 1990. This book covers the first ten years of the architect's work from establishing his office in 1978 to 1988.

Discovered that one of his buildings, the GA HOUSE in Higashi-Gotanda is not so far from my office and in reasonable distance for a lunch time walk.

 

p.s. Visited on 23 April 2014.

Mon

30

Sep

2013

[2013] Autumn edition

Added a bunch of European architects that were active in Japan from the end of the 19th and in the first half of the 20th century:

George de Lalande   (1872 - 1914), German architect of the famous Weather Cock House in Kobe

Jan Letzel   (1880 - 1925), Austrian/Czech architect of the Hiroshima Prefectural Commercial Exhibition Hall [now, A-bomb Dome]

0 Comments

Sat

08

Jun

2013

[2013] Marunouchi Walking Tour

Did a guided Marunouchi walking tour, organised by a senior architect who has his place of work in Marunouchi and a deep research kind of interest in the area and its history. The tour started at 'Marubiru' (Marunouchi Building) and Tokyo Station, the later originally designed by Tatsuno Kingo. I knew of the 'brick building quarter' at Marunouchi that started with the Mitsubishi Ichigokan, designed by Josiah Conder and Sone Tatsuzo, but I didn't know that only or mainly the South part of Marunouchi was home to brick buildings, an area modelled after London of the times, or 'Little London'. The North part of Marunouchi, which was developed later, was home to buildings with white tile facades, modelled after New York of the times, so 'Little New York'. The old Main Post Office building next to Tokyo Station is on South side, but with its white tile facade one of the first buildings of the later North side style. Tokyo Station and the Post Office were connected by Japan's first underground railway. An interesting fact about Tokyo Station is that the central entrance is reserved for the emperor, the common people enter the station at North and South entrance. The Tokyo Kaijo Nichido Building (東京海上日動ビルディング本館) on North side was the first high-rise built higher than the 100 feet (31 metres) rule that governed building heights until then. Due to immediate scepticism whether such high buildings should be allowed next to the emperor's palace it was constructed as a 25 storey building, five storeys smaller than the initial 30 storey design. Even though a forerunner in terms of height it was one of the last buildings with a red brick facade, and located on the North side of the Marunouchi area.

The tour continued along Naka-dori, the central axis that runs North-South through Marunouchi, a wonderful pedestrian friendly alley lined with trees and benches, a novum in Japan. We were told that the benches were placed not with the intention to provide amenity for passersby but to prevent bicycle parking.

We visited the first two floors of the Meiji Seimei Building (明治生命館), that were originally home to a bank and open for visitors, as well as the rebuilt Mitsubishi Ichigokan and the inner garden like courtyard where people relaxed on benches or the outside sitting areas of restaurants and cafes. Here the tour ended.

We concluded that the Marunouchi area has undergone a dramatic change towards a modern urban centre, where it's fun to work, shop, dine, stroll, and relax on a Saturday afternoon.

1 Comments

Wed

10

Apr

2013

[2013] forest, CLOUD, mountain

Added

* Frank O. Gehry,

* Coop Himmelb(l)au.

With Coop Himmelb(l)au I (re)discovered a connection between them and Abe Hitoshi, as the latter was project manager for the Osaka FOLLY #6 FOR EXPO'90 by Coop Himmelb(l)au, which in turn sheds a (re)new(ed) light on the "Educating the International Architect" symposium at University of Tokyo in summer 2009, where Abe as well as Wolf D.Prix attended. The next surprise was the EXPO'90 exhibition itself, as some other international and well-known architects contributed folly designs. Also in 2009 I saw an exhibition about Coop Himmelb(l)au's recent work at the NTT ICC in Tokyo, which, had I known that he had built already in Japan, I might have searched for other connections with Tokyo.

A quote from Wolf D.Prix (1968) "Coop Himmelb(l)au is not a color but an idea, of creating architecture with fantasy, as buoyant and vibrant as clouds." This vision, perhaps, is fuelled by the start of the space age in the 1960's, as an elevated, earth-free environment.

Here it's interesting to note, that recently in 2011 Fujimoto Sou spoke of architecture as (forest,) cloud (, mountain): "Forest-like architecture may be something between artificial and natural; perhaps when we speak about a cloud-like architecture, we could imagine architecture made up of air and light rather than a wall. Mountain-like architecture may dial up a new relationship between the human body and the building." His attitude, perhaps (again), might be strongly influenced by his own time, responsible for and dependent on planet earth and mother nature, shaping the earth-bound environment.

0 Comments

Tue

02

Apr

2013

[2013] Winter additions

Added

* Christopher Alexander, the author of "Pattern Language",

* Dominique Perrault, a French architect,

* ARCHITEXT, the counter-Metabolist group,

* Maeda Keisuke, a young architect in his 30's and designer of NEST,

* Yasuda Koichi, a TIT professor who worked for Bernhard Tschumi.

Added the magazine [AIJ Selected Architectural Designs 2013].

Stats: 14 fb likes + 14 slideshow images on initial page; 124 MB.

0 Comments

Sat

19

Jan

2013

[2013] Happy New Year - Year of the Snake

The year has started quite refreshingly and powerfully, and after almost a year of absence I've got plenty of new ideas I'd like to implement. Major keyword and emphasis will be on PHOTOGRAPHY, which I wish to make more recognisable and synonymous with this site. New added feature to each page are social network share buttons (facebook shares so far: Home 9, Ando Tadao 1, Tange Kenzo 3, Dictionary 1).

New main categories are "LITERATURE", which now includes the growing magazine section plus an added book section, and "REGULATIONS", with a recently started trial translation into German of the Tokyo Prefecture Building Safety Regulation.

115 MB

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Thu

03

May

2012

[2012] Additions

Added Otani Sachio.

0 Comments

Sat

28

May

2011

[2011] Osaka Tour

Walking around Osaka (on a rainy day), mainly the Umeda area, the Fukushima/Nakanoshima, and the Tenpozan area. Visited the new OSAKA STATION building, the OSAKA FUKOKA SEIMEI building by Dominique Perrault and Shimizu Corp., the ASAHI BROADCASTING HALL by Kuma Kengo, and finally the SUNTORY MUSEUM by Ando Tadao. To my surprise, the latter has been completely closed since December 2010. I wonder, whether Suntory moved the museum completely to Tokyo (to the SUNTORY MUSEUM by Kuma Kengo at Tokyo Midtown), and what the company will do with the remaining building.

0 Comments

Fri

18

Feb

2011

[2011] Spring additions

Added

* Arai Chiaki,

* Araki Masahiko, and

* JA 80 - Yearbook 2010.

106 MB, what? That's 61 MB less than last time. Didn't change anything myself, so what happened??

0 Comments

Mon

10

Jan

2011

[2011] First New Year Architecture Tour

Two days ago on Saturday I went to see the HASUNE WORLD APARTMENT by Atelier Bow-Wow, and the DAITO BUNKA UNIVERSITY, ITABASHI CAMPUS by Nakamura Ben and Hori Yamamoto. The main goal was to see the integration of photovoltaic panels into facade and roof of the university's No.3 building.

Added Nakamura Ben. 167 MB.

1 Comments

Sat

13

Nov

2010

[2010] AIA Design Forum and Annual Design Awards

Went to the 'AIA Japan Design Forum: Museums and Light' at the JIA Kaikan, with keynote speaker Nanjo Fumio (Director, Mori Art Museum) and panel discussants Mitsui Jun, AIA (Principal, Pelli Clarke Pelli Japan / Jun Mitsui Associates) and Kawabata Akihiko (Partner, dpa Lighting Consultants). The Design Forum was suceeded by the 'Annual AIA Japan Design Awards Reception and Exhibit', to recognize the design achievements of the AIA Japan Members, as well as recognize the commendable work submitted by local university students. The jury included Kawashima Atsushi, Astrid Klein (Klein Dytham architects) and Tezuka Yui (Tezuka Architects).

Added

+ Kume Sekkei,

+ Architect 5 Partnership,

+ AXS Satow Inc, architects of TOKYO BIG SIGHT,

+ A·D·H Architects,

+ Adèle Naudé Santos,

+ Endo Takao,

+ Ushida Findlay Partnership,

+ Perkins Eastman,

+ Yasui Takeo and

+ Daiichi-Kobo Associates.

162 MB.

0 Comments

Tue

09

Nov

2010

[2010] Ito, Maki, and Architour #1g - Kengo Kuma

On 3rd I visited the ZA KOENJI PUBLIC THEATRE by Ito Toyo. In the afternoon I went to a lecture by Maki Fumihiko at the SPIRAL, one of his buildings in Tokyo. Later that day I went to the Auto Modification ThinkTank and Conference at Roppongi Hills, a joint event organised by the Columbia University's Building Intelligence Project (C-BIP) and the University of Tokyo (UT). Among the presenters were Mr. A. Eugene Kohn, Founding Partner and Chairman of KPF/Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, one of the companies that designed ROPPONGI HILLS. After that I attended the launch reception of the Architizer website in Tokyo.

On 6th I joined a walking tour around Tsukiji and Tsukishima, where we visited many recent real estate developments, mainly for residential purposes, for example the Rivercity 21, just to name one. There I discovered the EGG OF WINDS, a project from the early 1990s by Ito Toyo.

On 9th I used the chance to visit the NISSEI THEATRE by Murano Togo, which is part of the NISSEI (NIHON SEIMEI) HIBIYA BUILDING from 1963. The buidling on the outside is detailed with a lot of eclectic traditional Japanese elements, but the interior of the theatre itself could be best described as a Gaudian grotesque cave. His sense for details is nevertheless superb.

Later that day I went to see the TRUSS WALL HOUSE by Ushida Findlay Architects and the PAINT HOUSE BUILDING by Kuma Kengo.

Added Aida Takefumi and Von Jour Caux, 152 MB.

0 Comments

Sun

10

Oct

2010

[2010] Matsumoto and Iida in Nagano prefecture

Went to Matsumoto and Iida in Nagano prefecture on October 4/5.

In Matsumoto we went to see the old parts of the town, including the castle and an elementary school from the Meiji era, as well as some modern buildings like the UKIYOE-MUSEUM from Shinohara Kazuo (unfortunately closed), and the THIRD MILLENIUM GATE bldg from Takeyama Kiyoshi Sei / Amorphe.

In Iida we visited the O MUSEUM from SANAA. This museum is in the country, so we had to take a local train for about 20 minutes and a taxi. As we arrived early in the morning, there were no other guests, a perfect setting for a photo session. The outside and especially the inside were bathed in the morning light.

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Tue

14

Sep

2010

[2010] Nihonbashi and Ginza

Went to Nihonbashi twice today to take some morning and evening pictures of the famous bridge with the highway above.

Went to Ginza as well to visit the NICOLAS HAYEK CENTER from Ban Shigeru. Ban equipped the whole facade with wide and high shutters on all floors. It's not so much a facade anymore in the traditional sense, as it can be fully opened, nothing separates indoor and outdoor anymore.
When entering the building on ground floor, fully glazed elevators are designed like little showrooms in which the different brands of the Swatch Group are exhibited. These elevator showrooms bring the customer to the other floors.

Added Nakamura Hiroshi / NAP Architects, the designer of the LANVIN BOUTIQUE in Ginza. He is a young architect in his 30's.

141 MB.

0 Comments

Sat

31

Jul

2010

[2010] MoMAT #4+5

Went to the lecture of Ito Toyo on July 3, and Naito Hiroshi on July 31 at MoMAT, the Museum of Modern Art Tokyo.

On July 9 I went to a lecture about Sustainable Housing, organised by the JIA; and on July 10 I heard a lecture by Darko Radovic, who is professor a Keio University.

2 Comments

Fri

02

Jul

2010

[2010] RE2010, PV Japan 2010 and Kikutake

This week in Yokohama the Renewable Energy 2010 conference is happening with an exhibition under the same name and a supplementary PV Japan 2010 exhibition. Went there on Tuesday and yesterday on Thursday again to listen to some research papers and to see the newest products on display.

Later that day I went to the Kikutake Kiyonori lecture in Shinjuku. He exemplified the Japanese 'raised floor' architecture with three of his projects, the ISHIBASHI CULTURE CENTER of 1956, the SKY HOUSE of 1958 and the EDO-TOKYO MUSEUM of 1993. In 2004 I went to see the Sky House, but Kikutake showed early pictures of the house. I didn't realise it's modular architecture before, especially the later added children's room dangling from the raised upper floor.

0 Comments

Sat

12

Jun

2010

[2010] MoMAT #3

Went to the lecture of Atelier Bow-Wow at MoMAT.

Over the weeks many many architects were added:

* Sambuichi Hiroshi / Sambuichi Architects,

* Irie Keiichi / Power Unit Studio,

* Murakami Toru,

* Kojima Kazuhiro / C+A, one of the founders of Coelacanth,

* Endoh Masaki / EDH, who worked for Namba Kazuhiko,

* Ikeda Masahiro,

* Ikehara Yoshiro,

* Kuryu Akira,

* Watanabe Akira,

* Yokogawa Ken,

* Horibe Yasushi,

* Arima Hiroyuki / Urban Fourth,

* Kimura Hiroaki / Ks Architects,

* Kohyama Hisao,

* Kishi Waro / K.Associates + Architects,

* MIKAN,

* Iida Yoshihiko/ Iida Archiship Studio,

* Miyamoto Katsuhiro, architect of the Clover House,

* Igarashi Jun,

larger architecture companies:

* Takenaka Corporation,

* Shimizu Corporation,

* Yamashita Sekkei,

* Taisei Corporation,

and foreign architect:

* Rafael Vinoly,

* MVRDV,

* The Jerde Partnership,

* Francois Roche,

* Philippe Starck.

Most of the Japanese architects were added in relation to publication of their projects in at least one of the following magazines. Most architects have more than one publication:

* JA 72 - Yearbook 2008,

* JA 68 - Yearbook 2007,

* JA 64 - Yearbook 2006,

* JA 60 - Yearbook 2005,

* JA 56 - Yearbook 2004,

* JA 52 - Yearbook 2003,

* JA 48 - Yearbook 2002,

* JA 44 - Yearbook 2001,

* JA 40 - Yearbook 2000 and

* JA 36 - Yearbook 1999.

138 MB.

0 Comments

Sat

05

Jun

2010

[2010] MoMAT #2 and Gallery MA

Went to the second lecture at MoMAT during the "Where is Architecture?" exhibition, this time by Nakayama Hideyuki. He is a very young architect, hardly older than myself, who had worked for Ito Toyo.

At Gallery MA I saw the exhibition about Takehara Yoshiji, an Osaka based architect. He uses a lot of wood, massive or thinly sliced, but always in combination of different kinds and colours.

0 Comments

Tue

01

Jun

2010

[2010] Additions

Added Takehara Yoshiji / Moo Architect Workshop, Amano Taro, a F.L. Wright disciple,  Harada Masahiro / Mount Fuji Architects Studio, Naito Hiroshi, Nakamura Ryuji, and Miyawaki Mayumi, a founding member of the Anti-Metabolist Group Architext, and a couple of exhibition posters. 124 MB.

0 Comments

Sat

29

May

2010

[2010] MoMAT #1 and other exhibition visits

Visited two exhibitions and two lectures today.

I started with the 33rd LEMON exhibition at Meiji University. Then I went to the Kikuchi Hiroshi lecture at MoMAT, the Museum of Modern Art Tokyo. He spoke about his influences for the exhibition design at MoMAT, the overall topic is "Where is architecture?" with 7 architects exhibiting. His conclusion, white vs. dark architecture, is purely focused on a national context, quite surprising indeed, when considering that he worked for four years at Herzog & deMeuron.

I continued towards Nihon University and passed by coincidently at the book store renovation from Kikuchi Hiroshi, which I saw some minutes earlier during the lecture, quite a surprise.

At Nihon University the NU Architecture Week took place, so I visited Open Labo at CST building No.1 and finished with a lecture at building No.5, where Konishi Yasutaka and Oono Hiroshi, two structural engineers, gave a presentation. Konishi Yasutaka worked with Ishigami Junya on the Kanagawa Institute of Technology Workshop Building (2008). It was quite surprising to note on the floor plan, that the wildly spread structure of the building is so minimal, that the outlining facade is the most present element, whereas in a photo or a section it is vice versa due to the nature of a glazed facade being transparent. It gives an unknown dimension to the term "flexibility", in it's functional, structural and visual meaning. Oono Hiroshi worked with Watanabe Akira and he presented the aluminium roof of the Sakashita Public Toilet (2009) on the Imperial Palace grounds.

Added Kikuchi Hiroshi.

0 Comments

Tue

25

May

2010

[2010] Architour #1f - Kuma Kengo

Together with students from TU Braunschweig, Bernd Schuster laboratory, I went to the MURAI MASANARI ART MEMORIAL MUSEUM on sunday. It's a small gem that perfectly expresses the sensitivity of Kuma's approach.

Visited the Moriyama House of Nishizawa Ryue as well.

Added Nishizawa Ryue and SANAA.

Added more pictures of Kuma's projects. 117 MB.

1 Comments

Mon

08

Mar

2010

[2010] PV EXPO 2010 and Kuma Kengo lecture

Visited PV EXPO 2010 on last Wednesday (3rd), where many new developments and products in the field of solar energy generation were exhibited.

Went to a Kuma Kengo lecture at the Asahi Yurakucho Hall on last Friday (5th), where he spoke about research in the design field of architecture.

Added Itami Jun.

0 Comments

Tue

02

Mar

2010

[2010] Yearbook 2009

Added the JA 76 - Yearbook 2009 as a list and projects 01-08.

Added Nakayama Hideyuki, another upcoming architect, and Nishizawa Taira.

Added pictures of the recently visited Kuma Kengo buildings. 112 MB.

0 Comments

Sat

27

Feb

2010

[2010] Uchii Shozo exhibition

Went to Setagaya Art Museum, that held an exhibition about Uchii Shozo, the architect of the museum. I am sticking to the writing of the family name with double i, as in other online resources.

The English writing of names is sometimes confusing, see Ito Toyo. If written according to the Kanji's reading it would be Toyoo. So it might be possible that Uchii Shozo appears written as Uchi Shozo, with only one i.

0 Comments

Fri

26

Feb

2010

[2010] Architour #1e - Kuma Kengo

Went to BANRAISHA at the Keio University Mita campus today. Was not really sure, what exactly was designed by Kuma, but I think it's the terrace. Stone plates with holes in which trees and plants grow, water sprinkles or cylinders stand to sit on.

0 Comments

Thu

25

Feb

2010

[2010] Architour #1d - Kuma Kengo

Had the sudden urge today morning to visit another building by Kuma Kengo, the RUSTIC from his postmodern period. Most interesting were the persiflage of greek columns, four of them. The first in full scale, but without the base and capital, just the shaft and a slight gap between the column and the architrave. The second with a broken top but round reinforcement bars underneath the architrave. The third already shortened with a vertical  truss sticking out. The fourth and last and shortest with a TV on top! That was something. It reminded me of some kind of Media Art I saw during my studies in the 1990s. Interesting as well the symbolic shadows behind the columns, embedded in white marble on the downward stairs. The metal panels on the facade had shadows printed on as well.

0 Comments

Mon

22

Feb

2010

[2010] Prof. Namba's last lecture

Was staff on Saturday, 20th, at Kazuhiko Namba's last lecture as professor of University of Tokyo, he is going to retire in March.

Added Motono Seigo, Uchi Shozo, Yoshimura Junzo and some posters, 109MB.

0 Comments

Thu

18

Feb

2010

[2010] Urbanism by Françoise Choay

Today I heard a lecture by Françoise Choay (* 1925), a French architecture historian. She had a quite profound knowledge, presented stunning insights with an overall pessimistic view on the present day city. I learned that the Catalan Cerdà, originally a trained civil engineer, coined the term 'urbanization' in his 1867 Teoría General de la Urbanización. He borrowed many ideas from Baron Haussmann's renovation of Paris. Ms Choay's impression of Baron Haussmann was opposite of what I learned so far. In her opinion he was respecting as much as possible the memory and traces of the past. That Marshall McLuhan is regarded as the one who coined the term 'globalization', that I was aware of. Back to Ms Choay herself, her background is philosophy but her 'career' as an architecture historian started, when she met Jean Prouvé (1901-1984) in the fifties and wrote an article for a newspaper about one of his houses. As the newspaper agent was impressed with her work she could sent from then on whatever she wrote, which was about a paper a week. Her view on urbanism is pessimistic as she sees the human race being more and more disconnected from time and concrete space, the environment being replaced with technical objects. Even constructions, we still call buildings, are merely technical objects in her words, 'homo sapiens sapiens' turning into 'homo proteticus'.

1 Comments

Thu

04

Feb

2010

[2010] "Japonism and Alvar Aalto"

Went to the above mentioned lecture at Meiji University, presented by Leif Høgfeldt Hansen, Associate Professor in Architectural History at Aarhus School of Architecture, Denmark.

What did I learn? That the "missing link" between Japan, F.L. Wright and Aalto may be Antonin Raymond and his published works about Japan. For sure, in Europe Bruno Taut and others are more well known to have strongly influenced the picture about Japan. But Raymond? Did he publish? Obviously at least one VERY nice book about his own "Architectural Details" in 1938 with only 1000 copies, pretty rare by now. Added some references in the "further readings" section. That Aalto and Raymond might have met is quite possible, as the following fact illustrates. Both attended a symposium in New York in May 1939, Aalto as speaker, Raymond in the audience, see here.

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Fri

08

Jan

2010

[2010] Happy New Year

Not so New anymore the Year 2010, but nevertheless I wish everybody a Happy one.

 

Just came back from a tour to Iga City in Mie Prefecture, where I learned two astonishing facts. The city hall I have passed by numerous times and about which I always wondered, who designed this Corbusier like concrete building, was designed by Sakakura Junzo (could have and even guessed it). The second fact, it is scheduled to be torn down and replaced with a new building soon.

Added DOCOMOMO Japan: the 100 Selections from JA57.

0 Comments

Thu

24

Dec

2009

[2009] Fujii Koji exhibition

On Christmas Eve (Thursday, 24th) I visited the Fujii Koji exhibition mainly about his masterpiece 'Chochikukyo' at the Takenaka HQ. The building reminded very much of Arts and Crafts or Jugenstil buildings, as it employed similar details. When I spoke with Namba Kazuhiko about the house, he mentioned that Koji met Bruno Taut and that Taut thought of Koji as a poor designer. Nevertheless, the 'Chochikukyo' features in the DOCOMOMO Japan list of 100 modernist buildings. To compare the building in its time and country some other Japanese houses were briefly introduced, here a list:

* Maekawa Kunio, Iihashi House, 1941

* Maekawa Kunio, Maekawa House, 1942

* Tsuchiura Kameki, Tsuchiura House, 1935

* Shinohara Kazuo, House in White, 1966

* Yoshimura Junzo, House in the Woods, 1962

* Frank Lloyd Wright, Hayashi Hisaku House, 1917

* Antonin Raymond, Summer House, 1933

* Horiguchi Sutemi, Koide House, 1925

* Masuzawa Makoto, Nara House, 1953

* Seike Kiyoshi, Dr. Mori House, 1951.

Added Hasegawa Go, Yamashita Yasuhiro and some projects of Inui Kumiko.

0 Comments

Tue

22

Dec

2009

[2009] Five exhibitions

Went on Sunday (20 Dec) to the Tokyo Opera City building, where five exhibitions were on: at the NTT ICC about the Austrian architects Coop Himmelb(l)au and artists exhibiting at Open Space 2009, and at the Art Gallery about the Danish designer Verner Panton and the painter Okuyama Tamie and Sumita Daisuke.

2 Comments

Fri

18

Dec

2009

[2009] Future of Solar Energy

On Thursday (17.) I attended a symposium about the "Future of Solar Energy".

Met James Lambiasi of Lambiasi & Hayashi Architects later that day, who provided some interesting insights into the relationship of architects, clients and developers based on projects at Omotesando Road. He further explained some "super legal" creative application of the Japanese building code. "Super legal building" (you can find a short explanation -> here) is a term coined by Yoshimura Yasutaka (added).

On Friday (18.) I heard a studio talk of the Croatian office Penezic & Rogina.

Added Furuya Nobuaki, Suzuki Makoto and young architects, still in their 30s but already established, like Ishigami Junya, Fujimoto Sou and Inui Kumiko.

0 Comments

Sat

12

Dec

2009

[2009] EcoProducts 2009 and Imai Kenji

During the last 3 days the newest environmentally friendly products from Japanese makers where exhibited at the EcoProducts 2009 fair. Yesterday I joined a one-hour guided English tour organised by Japan for Sustainability. As this was definitely not enough time I went again today morning to speak mainly with manufacturers of solar panels, big players like Sharp, Sanyo and Hitachi, smaller wind power makers and also pellet stove makers.

In the afternoon I went to see the Imai Kenji exhibition at Tama Art Msueum, where I realised that I saw one of his church buildings the other day. Will add pictures and project later.

Added Azuma Takamitsu, Oe Hiroshi, Nikken Sekkei, Antonin Raymond and Taniguchi Yoshiro. Realised that there were two Taniguchis, father Yoshiro and his son Taniguchi Yoshio. Added projects E1-9 and E45-47 of Hiroshi Watanabe's book: The Architecture of Tokyo. Data up to 100MB.

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Sun

06

Dec

2009

[2009] JLPT weekend

Today I went to the Meiji University Ikuta Campus for the JLPT. Used the afternoon to see some architecture along the Odakyu Line at Seijo-Gakuenmae, mainly from Suzuki Ryoji, Hayakawa Kunihiko and Tange Kenzo.

The catholic church I saw was designed by Imai Kenji, which I realised a week later during the Imai Kenji exhibition.

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Sat

05

Dec

2009

[2009] Architour #1c - Kuma Kengo

On Dec 2nd I did the third part Kuma Kengo architour together with three other architects. This time we went to the West and Central Tokyo. Started at SHIBUYA STATION (1), continued to Odakyu Chitose-Funabashi Station to see M2 (2) and FOOD AND AGRICULTURE MUSEUM (3). I was really surprised by the M2. Of course I knew its postmodern facade from pictures. What I didn't know that in contrast to its massive and monolithic appearance, the huge Ionic capital is just made of metal sheet !! You can see the sky shine through, where rust has eaten its way. The same inside. Not stone or concrete is the major building material but iron !! We visited two Ito Toyo buildings (RESTAURANT PASTINA and HONDA AUTOMOBILE SALON) and one each from Kitayama Kojiro (KINUTA TERRACE) and Workshop (HOUSE IN SAKURAGAOKA) on the way. Had lunch in the museum's cafeteria. Back to Shibuya we continued to visit THE SCAPE (4) and RESTAURANT WAKETOKUYAMA (5). The last one is definitely one of Kuma's finest works.

Yesterday I finished reading Botond Bognar's book about Kuma. Added Taniguchi Yoshio.

Today I added Mitsui Jun and Le Corbusier, some pictures of buildings by Ito Toyo and Yamamoto Riken and an exhibition poster for Imai Kenji. Up to using 93 MB.

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Mon

30

Nov

2009

[2009] Architour #1b - Kuma Kengo

Today I did the second part of the Kuma Kengo architour. Basically I visited three buildings: TIFFANY GINZA, ADK SHOCHIKU SQUARE and CODAN SHINONOME Block 3. I didn't finish the tour as planned, with two buildings unseen. BUT I enjoyed greatly some other marvellous pieces of architecture mainly in Ginza, but in Shinonome as well.

After compressing some previously uploaded images I squeezed the usage down to 69 MB (- 15 MB).

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Sun

29

Nov

2009

[2009] Weekend additions

I used the Sunday to add some more projects and pictures I took in spring 2005 in Ashiya. I encountered the architect Takeyama Minoru, who seems to be quite known. At least a book about his work was written by Botond Bognar, the same author who wrote "Kengo Kuma: selected works" which I am just reading. A further added architect is Uenami Akira, an employee of the former Ministry of Communications, who obviously designed many of the former Ministry buildings all over Japan. Added  Oe Kazuo / MANIERA Architects, Ohsugi Yoshihiko, Rokkaku Kijo and Nihon Sekkei, plus further projects of Ando Tadao. Using 84 of 500 MB.

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Sat

28

Nov

2009

First Entry - Architour #1a - Kuma Kengo

That this is the first entry is basically quite obvious.

BUT I have started to compile this webpage since June, 26th, about five months ago (checked my emails for the exact date). In the beginning I could heavily rely on material I have been collecting since more than four years, but even though the inclusion of this material is still unfinished I have added new material as well.

The more I add, the more I start to encounter architects previously not known to me, being related to other architects or I can add more than a single project. Sometimes an architect turns out to be of importance not known to me.

I hope that others will find this database as enriching as it is for me.

Yesterday I finished the first day of a 3-day "KUMA in TOKYO" tour. Visited the STEEL HOUSE, the exhibition "Organic Architecture" in Gallery Ma and SUNTORY MUSEUM.

Added the category "Foreign Architects in Japan".

Today I visited the YaNeSen-area, an old temple area since the Edo-period. YaNeSen stands for Yanaka-Nezu-Sendagi, an area Southwest of JR Nippori-station.

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