Japan is a fascinating city for many reasons, including their architecture – and our Part II Andrew Singer thinks we could definitely learn a thing or two from them! Take a look at his top Japanese inspirations below…
Just before entering our current reality, I was lucky enough to squeeze in a trip to Asia at the start of 2020 and experience firsthand some places that were unprecedentedly empty in Japan that would otherwise have been packed full of tourists.
Japan has an incredible juxtaposition of old and new in urban fabrics that sprawl geographically and are huge in population. Dotted among these expanses of homes, bright lights and overhanging power lines are incredible feats of architecture that are places you must visit in person if you get a chance but for now, this is a small summary of my favourite spaces I found.
Irie Taikichi’s house
A small residence in the town of Nara, it is a typical Japanese home that was owned by the photographer Irie Taikichi. The tatame mats and paper walls are a real insight into the way people live in Japan but it is the way the house is compartmentalised creating intimate spaces for reflection and meditation that we in the west can adopt in our own architecture.
Umeda Sky Building
This slightly mad skyscraper by the architect Hiroshi Hara situated in Osaka was built in a very novel way, the two towers were constructed individually and then the central bridging sky garden at the top was craned into place. It is a stunning example of engineering and gives you a sense of anything is possible when seeing this almost 40 year old building.
Curved ceilings with large areas of glazing allow light to flood in to the beautifully intimate space. The church, designed by Ciel Rouge, has incredible acoustics due to the shape of the ceiling that gives the impression of a large hand enveloping the congregation. I found this space particularly interesting as just outside is the hustle and bustle of Tokyo, but inside behind the triple glazing one enters a calm stillness.