Beyond the bubble. The new japanese architecture, by Botond Bognar, a review

Continuing my series of readings with the intent to give it a bit of body, I suggest  this book. It is has been published in 2008 by Phaidon Press.

The writer, says the back cover, teaches at University of Illinois(here) . Every time, you take a book that says New …something and it is dated says 10 years ago, you already knows that , at his best, it can give you some hindsight of what is happening now.

The great merit of this book it is in its short essay.

Mr. Bognar explained very well to me, the crazyness of the bubble era to which, until I read this book, I just heard about but I did not realize exactly how it was.

When he describes the real building of architect Masaharu Takasaki, Crystal Light guest House, built in 1986 and demolished in 1989…it says a lot about the folie/madness of the Bubble and he also explains why. My question, of course, arise: are we heading toward another bubble? Olympic itself is triggering it? Those are not in the book, they are my personal doubts about he current situation while stock market is rocketing…instead the book is composed by 4 sections:

1 – Introduction

2- The bubble years – The epitome of Japanese Postmodernism

3 – After the bubble – New Realities, new priorities

4- Beyond the bubble ‐The Architects

The first three sections are terrific. They are well documented and well explained and if you think that one of the most venerate architects, mr Toyo Ito, has Taichung Metropolitan Opera (Taiwan) mentioned and illustrated, when in reality  the construction just finished last year, you have the idea that even if it is written before 2008 it is not yet a dated book.

At the end of the third section he write a paragraph called lightly “Assessing the future – in lieu of a Conclusion” when it reports words from a philosopher Koji Taki, that basically does not suprise.

The 4th section is a commented Gallery, closer to a well illustrated magazine that sports works from 18 Architects studio such as:

Tele-Design, Koji Yagi, Kazunari Sakamoto, Atelier Bow-Wow, Kazuyo Sejima, Shigeru Ban, Waro Kishi, Nikken Sekkei Ltd, SANAA, Jun Aoki, Ryoji Suzuki, Yasumitsu Matsunaga, Riken Yamamoto, Obayashi Corporation, Yoshio Taniguchi, Kengo Kuma, Tadao Ando, Toyo Ito.

If you do not know half of those people than the book it may worth the acquire or if you like architecture large pictures as well. The proposed works are also well explained in their main features. One merit of the book also is to mention some foreigners who are working in Tokyo competing within the tight market.









Tokyo Designers Week 2014 , 3rd of three posts. The project proposal Exhibition.

20141026_170246I am happy to to finish the Modelling exposition started in the previous post and totally reported in this crafted blog . Here are some more. The one above is from Tanijiri Makoto (谷尻誠) and Ai Yoshida (吉田愛). Here their official web site (Suppose Design Office) from which they show their admiration for the work of the american architect Ghery, which is a rare thing. It is a proposal costruction located in the city of Hamamtsu ( 浜松市) that contains public and private spaces.

The main concept is a forest. The ideators claim it seems complex but it is not since many units can be repeated largely.

Here below the model by Akihisa Hirata, here his official web site.

20141026_170235They are presenting more than one project I guess.

Akihisa Hirata modelthen we pass to Sou Fujimoto, same generation of Hirata and his Serpentine Gallery Pavillion



last we look at the Maki Onishi (大西麻貴) + Yuki Hyakuda (百田有希) houses. An extraordinary close look at the contemporary Tokyo style for Houses.20141026_165900

Actually I was forgetting the entrance model. A huge complex by Riken Yamamoto in Zurich, who seemed the wealthier of all of the exhibitors. His career started long time ago in 1973…



House Vision 2013 – last day – Tokyo – Odaiba

House Vision 2013 - last day - Tokyo - Odaiba

I wasn’t the only one to shoot something today at the House Vision 2013. Alas I went there , it was Sunday and forecast was rain.

1800 yen, adult ticket…I was thinking, a bit over my actual range for such tickets. At the End, I changed my opinion, it was worth every yen and also it didn’t rain.


Above you can see the entrance from inside. a woodedn made wall designed by Kengo Kuma. The flyer says Makoto Azuma for the green wall, they were only in house number 6. I wouldn’t call that barrage a green wall and you?

There were 7 houses in a very small Area. For the same kind of exhibition italians would probably used at least five times that surface.

Below you can see 3 picture of house number One by Toyo Ito, for Lixil, this new Consorterie of top brand industries unified in 2011.




I have to think on this, House number 1, before going forward.

Here below some pictures of House number 5, by Shigeru Ban, for MUJI, this well known brand with high design packaging. You can see the veranda. Students who are meisuring the heights (I guess 2,30), and a nice looking architetta with her friend.

are they surveyors?verandaSB1giovaniarchitette

I have some video also to upload whenever I got the chance I promise I will do. I recorded my impression as far as I was entering in the spaces for the first time, hopefully they’re funny at least. Also I would do more research on house number 3 (Local community, Area Principle) under the name of Riken Yamamoto, and two younger Hirokazu Suemitsu, Toshiharu Naka both born in 1976.

To summarize, I would say that the exibition was a well cut event. Nothing more than the state of the art, with some envisaged possibilities relevant to the approach of the customer more than the architectural one. Overall the client was the not unveiled target of the fair and thanks to the measured approach, I bet they have reached him.