Remarkable Japanese Timber Structures

In Japan, wood has been the primary construction material ever since people started living in the country. Some buildings – such as sukiya-style residences – are composed of carefully-shaped members and intricate latticework, while others – such as minka (farmhouses) – us rustic timbers in their natural form. Recently, Japanese architects have been pushing the boundary of the size, as well as the design of timber structures by combining innovative new methods with the country’s ancient carpentry techniques.

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10 Extraordinary Japanese Houses

In the articles exploring unconventional Japanese houses, we look at ten widely published works of residential architecture that radically question the boundaries of conventional living. Although they can each be termed 'experimental' in some way, we can also gather that architects in Japan are occasionally granted license to design highly personal solutions to meet the needs and whims of their clients, whose lives are shaped by these imaginative creations for years to come. 

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New Approaches to Apartment Living in Japan

In Japan’s dense cities, living in drab, dark apartment buildings, with little amenity space is often the only affordable option. We’ve collected recent apartment projects by architects who creatively challenge conventional multi-unit housing – or mansions as they are ironically called in Japanese. Many of these designs address the quality of interior living, as well as the homes’ relationship with their surrounding neighbors.

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The Art of the Japanese Bath

Taking a bath after a day of work is an important ritual for relaxation in Japan. For many clients, the bathroom – usually in a separate wet room from the toilet – is one of the most important rooms in the house. Although they look traditional, most contain automated controls to fill and reheat the water in the bath. Some prefer to have an open view of the surrounding nature while others enjoy the calm of solitary spaces filled with indirect light. We bring you a selection of some of our favorite Japanese bathrooms. 

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Visiting Can Lis – Jørn Utzon’s House on Majorca

Report by Yoshiharu Tsukamoto

Architect Yoshiharu Tsukamoto of Atelier Bow-Wow shared with us his experience visiting Jørn Utzon’s Can Lis, a house on Majorca, Spain, which we visited and photographed in 2012. Through the photographs as well as the drawings, sketches, essays, and details, a+u March 2013 Special issue documents the house – originally built in 1972 – after the restoration by Danish architect Lise Juel.

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Preview: JA93 Spring 2014 "Kazuo Shinohara”

Preview from JA

Spring 2014 issue of JA (Japan Architect) is a monograph on works by Kazuo Shinohara. The issue covers all 55 works, from 1956 on, with photographs and drawings from the first publication. The project descriptions are by Shinohara.

Sneak preview after the break.

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Harvard University’s HORIZON HOUSE wins the 3rd LIXIL International University Architectural Competition

hosted by LIXIL Cooperation

In the final screening of the 3rd LIXIL* International University Architectural Competition, which was held publicly on April 20, Sat, 2013, HORIZON HOUSE by Harvard University was selected as the top prize among three finalists. Harvard University, National University of Singapore and Delft University of Technology were previously selected from a total of 12 designated universities from 11 different countries, to proceed to the selection of the top prize.

HORIZON HOUSE is scheduled to be built in late October 2013 on a site at Memu Meadows – Center for Research on Environmental Technologies – in Taiki-cho, Hokkaido.

*LIXIL Cooperation is Japan's leading building materials and housing equipment manufacturing and sales company

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