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Shapes Shifting Japanese Architecture

What's special about Japanese architecture is how the design is created to make full use of the shape of the house or building. The interaction of the inside and exterior bring about simple intelligent forms that follow the Japanese language 'Kawaii', meaning pretty or cute, sweet and with a feeling of innocence - I see this in the architecture here and there's definitely a playful element to it all.


There is no real word to define Japanese architecture - each architect explores each pursuit individually but there does seem to be a trend that has emerged in these designs. In this collection I have included mainly a spread of houses, amongst other typologies, because I feel that they show the intelligent compositions that are emerging here. Although minimal, the shapes are strong and their connection with the movement inside is very interesting. Ant House by mA-style architects is a great example of how Japanese architects are pushing the limits of the basic elements we use in architecture. Here, the architects have almost redefined the use of the window by scattering them inside the house through internal walls. The result is a more fluid open space with more interesting ways to move through the house.


Although it's not common practice when designing buildings, some of these architects have also pushed our views on triangular corners - usually deemed as useless spaces. By opening up these opportunities, both in plan and section, a different focus is placed on interior spaces and how furniture is placed inside. The skewed shape of the Forest House by Studio Velocity shows some of these principles.


There are obvious similarities in Japanese architecture - minimal, white forms with strong geometries, but the architects have produced unique arrangements. I am not so interested in the fashion of Japan. I start with probing the architectural language currently considered to be natural, such as a wall, a window, the inside and the exterior etc and explore the meaning behind these elements for every project. Subtle changes, twists and angles create new architecture - House in Tamatsu uses these ideals.


I would like to build a world that can be integrated by neither a summary nor a language. I would like to induce an idea in the metaphysical, induce feeling in the physical but come and go through both sides continuously. I don't know where Japanese architecture is going in the next decade but I will explore it through my own concerns about design.


By Kenji Ido, Founder

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Curated by Ido, Kenji Architectural Studio
as Architects

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