The list of reasons to visit Japan is pretty much endless. But one of the best excuses to pack your bag and jump up on the next plane is the country’s amazingly diverse and innovative array of modern and contemporary architecture.
Here’s a round-up of Japan’s most ground-breaking architectural projects over the last 70 years.
8. House NA in Tokyo-designed for a couple in a quiet Tokyo neighborhood
The 914 sq ft transparent house has spacious interior comprised of 21 individual floor plates, all situated at various heights. The house acts as both a single room and a collection of rooms. It has enough room for a library, a roof terrace, and even a garage.
7. Garden and House, Tokyo
This five-story townhouse is fronted by a stack of gardens providing a combined home and workplace for two writers. The site was just 4 meters wide and has only glass walls. Gardens are interspersed with rooms on each of the four floors creating a screen of plants that mark the facade from the eyes of passing strangers.
6. Bird’s Nest Atami in Shizuoka
This is a tea room built about 30 feet high off the ground in a 300-year-old camphor tree tucked into the branches and made with natural materials. The structure almost completely blends into the scenery. One of its most striking elements is its scaffold-like support made of crisscrossing lightweight steel beams.
5. Nakagi Capsule Tower in Shimbashi, Tokyo
Built in the Ginza area of Tokyo, a total of 140 capsules are stacked and rotated at varying angles around a central core, standing 14-stories high. Each unit installed to the concrete core with only 4 high-tension bolts are replaceable. Each capsule measures 4 x 2.5 meters permitting enough room for one person to live comfortably.
4. Church on the Water in Shimukappu-mura
The church, with a form of two overlapping cubes, faces a large pond which steps down towards the small natural river. The larger of the two cubes serve as the chapel and meets the entrance of the smaller cube with a semi-circular spiral staircase. A long, L-shaped wall runs alongside the south and east of the buildings in order to separate the church from the hotel that rests behind it.
3. Tower of Winds in Yokohama
By day, the tower clads in perforated aluminum panels which reflect the city through the surfaces covering the steel core. By night, it translates sound and wind into light through two computers sensing the varying wind and noise levels and accordingly powering 1,300 lamps, 12 neon rings, and 30 flood lights at its base.
2. Jikka in Shizuoka
Dubbed Jikka, meaning “parents home,” it belongs to two women in their 60s where they will serve their community until the end of their remaining lives. Spaces are embellished as 5 primitive huts varying in size and height containing a kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, storage areas, and a spiral-shaped swimming pool.
1. Leek House in Machida, Tokyo
Among Japan’s most innovative domestic designs is the surreal Leek House by Terunobu Fujimori where the vegetable is grown through holes in the roof.