Gunjin Kaikan, by Ryoichi Kawamoto, 1934

It was the time of Imperialistic style, the time of the euphemistic pan-asian sphere, even so, I like it.

dsc01201His position, gives this building a sort of mysterious aura. When you enter into the Park that surround the BudoKan, in the central area, you cannot miss it.

Here the complete story of the Building.

And here another shot of a detail that needs some attention before Olympic 2020!


I found also a guy/girl on flickr that posted a recent event. During the Tohoku earthquake (2011) a roof collapsed and sadly two people died. Since then it remained closed. This style of thirties was called Teikan Yoshiki

Tower and Office. From modernist theory to contemporary practice, by Inaki Abalos & Juan Herreros, a review

Continuing a series of posts intending to give some theoric tools in order to understand better what it can be seen in town, this book is an amazing reading. A technical book, not for everybody. I found it better than a History of Architecture.  Despite the writers are Spanish from Madrid, it is probably a must read book for American Students of Architecture.

There are 3 parts with 6 chapters.

Part 1: High Rise Construction adn the modern movement

chapt 1 -The theoretical Contributions of Le Corbusier.

Part Two: Technological Evolution of Contemproary high-Rise Structures

chapt 2,  Structural Development

chap 3 – Evolution of Glass Curtain Wall Construction

chap 4 – The Mechanically Regulated Enviroment and its Structural Implications

Part Three: Typological and Urban Evolution of the Contemporary High-Rise Building

chap 5 – The evolution of Space Planning in the Workplace

chap 6 – Evolution of Topological Planning in the High-Rise Building

The Mixed-Use Skyscraper


A passage that illustrates better the pertinence of this book when you walk through the streets of Omotesando, or Ginza:


pg.245-6″ In another sens, the relevance of the skyscraper lies in its resemblance to the mechanism of advertising and publicity.”[…]”It would be misleading to think that this phenomen is esculisvely American, Rather, it reflects the way new modes of production and the boom in information technology are being translated into material practices that affect affect the spatiotemporal concepts inherited from early modernism. For a comprehensive view of this phenomenon it is necessary to study other ways in which building functions have become layered and juxtaposed, such as in Japan or Europe. In Japan, for example, some of the new structural forms make clear that mixed-use types are not associated excusively with large-scale buildings2 Phenomena such as the #fashion buildings# in he Shinjuku district of Tokyo are evidence of a certain automorphic reproduction, of the similarity of operations associated with the flexible flow of capital.”…

pg266 “The glass buliding skin which was a single, inert, and autonomous layer in modernist formulations, took a new technical functions within theis new balance of energy systems. The building skin itself became thicker and double layered, and it was closely linked to the building`s ensemble of energy and structural subsystems. Its transparency also became an increasingly subjective condition. No longer related to the need for natural lighting in the work space, it became associated with the idea of psychological comfort”

the book was published for the first time in Madird in 1992, but this edition is the Mit Press Paperback edition, of 2005.

The book main concept is the passionate description of the race  of American to build higher and higher skyscrapers . In doing so the detailed observation of the structural problems they were face plays a pivotal role in the story.

Mies van der Rohe is a ghost under the book, and the SOM in Chicago is in front row. When Mies conquers the front row , a fantastic description of choices of mullions details comes out!

Architecture and Structuralism: the ordering of Space, Herman Hertzberger, Rotterdam, 2015, a review

The writer is also a University teacher (Delft  University) and an active architect (I am not sure he is still teaching though). He is over 8o. I found his name trough a recent project, and I decided to follow the path to see where it leads…

Totally amazed of the intensity of his thoughts, and sometimes in a full time agreement with his teories.

The book chapters, as to say index, is already a recension as reading carefully the titles one can imagine the content. The titles tell us a lot.


Structuralism and Architecture,

Open versus Closed Structures

The collective character of Structure


Architecture`s Unconscious Programme

Generic, Specific, and Polyvalent


Building Order

Construction Kits


Work in progress


Where I am totally in sintony:

“Innovations in architecture are not necessarily improvements but essentially are shifts in emphasis and, therefore, attention,. Besides changes that are difficult to explain there are constants that are equally inexplicable, such as the seemingly indestructible classicism. We see it cropping up wherever there is a need to express certainty , solidity, status and power, in one or other from remotely derived from Classical Antiquity with the quite arbitrary pretention of having eternal value. For the record, the basis of other styles of architecture as well as other collective modes of construction, whether or not religiously inspired,culturally determined or otherwisecommunally driven, generally speaking is every bit as arbitrary”[pg.186]

Also the chapter dedicated to Sustainability unveil some fictitious value related to green, and its prophets. It is truly a fervent pamphlet about the amount of lies that the term has been crammed.

Some chapters mark the link between his group origins, team 10, and the japanese metabolist movement of the sixties. The main value of his theory is how to design and address the space in between the pubblic and the private. A very soften regard leads the reader to understand why some choices are better than others. I would give 5 start just for this unique splendid and fully supported explanation.

The thoughts are explained to such a greater number of examples from the romans to Arles, the city of Lucca, Le Corbusier, and his mentor mr.Aldo Van Eyck another dutch architect that is convincing. Often Le Corbusier is cited both in positive and critic way. Structuralism has an interesting story that officially began with a scism inside the Functionalism, in 1959.

He may had not yet win the pritzker prize, but he does not need it.



House Vision 2016

I went yesterday, Saturday, the 27th to this wonderful exhibition.

Here some links of video I shot.

It closed on Sunday August 28th.


House nr. 9,here. Nippon Design Center, for Toppan Printing.


House nr. 1, here. Fumie Shibata for Yamato Holdings.


House nr.8, here. K.Kuma, Seijun Nishihata for Sumitomo Forestry.


The winner is, Jun Iagarashi and Taihi Fujimori with their Inside Out/Furniture room.

Really lovely, above all the others.  House nr.10,  here. for TOTO and YKK AP


IN total there were 12 houses, but not all of them were houses, like 8 and 11, were outdoor

places. nr4. an Office space by Bow Wow.

There is a book already onliune if you`d like to have everything collected. I bought it as a present to a friend in Italy.

Last, I think Kuma, with designing the whole exhibition and 3 years before the House vision 1, first gathering must be considered a leading figure into this productive, architectural environment.

(Also you can see other old posts on this blog about that exibihition, 1,        2,        3,       4,        5, )

So I will put a link to an interesting introduction to his japanese theory book, called defeated architecture, of a blogger also that seems to be one of his

teammates at the studio or just one of his student I do not know really. Here, His ore her name is Zhue, and the article is dated back 2009.

four facets of contemprary architecture

My readers should already know about the great chance that edx.orf is offering. This class has just started, you cannot miss it.

Kuma Kengo and Obuchi  Yusuke are doing the first module

The 4 facets are these:

theory technology city and humans.

Not so much of understanding at first sight we`ll see.

This is the syllabus :

  • Development of contemporary Japanese architecture since the 1964 Tokyo Olympics
  • Features of works of influential Japanese architects
  • Theories behind practices in contemporary Japanese architecture
  • Present concerns and potential future directions for contemporary Japanese architecture

Architects and Their Works of the Module

Module 1: Introduction

1.1 – 1.5: Revisiting Kenzo Tange

Module 2: Arata Isozaki and Hisao Kohyama

2.1 – 2.4: In Search of a Space – Arata Isozaki, The Museum of Modern Art, Gunma (1974)

2.5 – 2.9: Learning from Style – Hisao Kohyama, Sainokuni Saitama Arts Theater (1994)

Module 3: Terunobu Fujimori and Hidetoshi Ohno

3.1 – 3.5: New Primitivism – Terunobu Fujimori, La Collina Omihachiman (2014)

3.6 – 3.10: Editing Between – Hidetoshi Ohno, Heart Nursery School (2014)

Module 4: Kengo Kuma and Kazuyo Sejima

4.1 – 4.5: Kengo Kuma, Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center (2012)

4.6 – 4.10: Kazuyo Sejima, Inujima “Art House Project” (2010-)

Module 5: Theory – Summary

Module 6: Final Exam