Toshima Gakuin High School, by Atsushi Kitagawara, 2001

ToshimaGakuin1I just got a bicycle. Nice new way to find interesting works here and there, where you have not any clue about them it is really surprising, and exciting. This is the sort of things you are expecting from Japan and not likely from other countries I guess.

This was on my way to a local library. It turned out to be an awarded architect with some reputation in Japan, not so much abroad.

Here his career on wikipedia. Mr. Aaron Betsky dedicated an article on him “The other Japanese Architecture”, here. and also a monography you can find online. The official architect website, here. Although it does not have an english version it has voices in double version Continue reading


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.








Hot to Cold , a recension

These guys, BIG, are a successful danish firm around the world. They are positive, and energetic, and most important they are winning competitions, which also means in our competitive world: many are losing against them in persuading customers.

The book, I just finished to read is a well explained showcase of their work. On youtube you can see their leader, Bjarke Ingels, talking about different projects , and you may want to save the money for the book. Also another interesting video about the latest tower in New York interviewed by a mayor American Channel streaming and other videos are pretty much covering their ideas in full length.

I liked the book for different reasons:

  1. It could be used as a handbook for visual presentation for University Students
  2. It shows how they did not waste their efforts, re-selling the concepts and adapting them to different customers
  3. It is an hymn to brave ideas.
  4. It is also shows how things can go wrong for great designers and that anybody should know that is the part of the job

On the Washington project (the buried museum on the mall) I have found emerging similarities with a Japanese leader architect mind, called Makoto Sei Watanabe, in his conceptual proposal, dated 2009 called ribbons. (From his official website there is also a wonderful video hidden on youtube)

This the main reason why I posting this on my blog. The Washington BIG project present an entrance create under a ribbon (some American may prefer canopy, or a series of canopies) and I see this concepts emerging more often that not, thus for the first time I will conclude this with a challenge to the reader and to myself.

In your next proposal whether a competition or a affluent client, try to design a ribbon, it might leverage your percentage of approval!


Tokyo Designers Week 2014, 2nd of three posts.

20141026_170029The aim of this second post is focusing to the model exhibition. Above it is a concept of the work by  Junya Ishigami (石上純也 ) called House & restaurant.

Here below the huge model;

House & RestaurantAnd here below his written thoughts

20141026_170038_001It is a captivating thought…nevertheless when it says “concrete” he should have better reflect on that word, so simple, too simple…

Here below a  妹島和世 (Kazuyo Sejima) work:

20141026_165805The architect explanation

SANAA Design WeekThe proposal is peculiar, here below an evolution into the Unity claimed by the concept

20141026_165822Let`s go to the K.Kuma model

20141026_165725It is the museum of the Chinese Acadamy of Art in thesuburbs of city of HangZhou (杭州) .


Hangzhou suburbs, was integrated into the architecture and tea plantations of the mountain, planning a new type of University Museum. When you study the architecture that utilizes as much as possible the slope of the diamond pattern appears in the contour.


IT doesn`t say anything about the materials…and this is strange, maybe I did not read enough.

20141026_165641_000If you are interested all these models they are published in the catalog (2000Yen) inside the pavillion. Maybe in few days in the libraries of the whole Japan.

If you can read japanese you might check this comprehensive blog on the same subject.

I will upload more pictures in the next post.


JOSAI university Kyoicho Campus, 学校法人城西大学 東京紀尾井町キャンパス…surprise


I went for a walk after a meeting and I have decided to look at the building who was at the end of a

narrow street .

It was the Josai University (how many are they in Tokyo? 100, 200, 500?..who knows) Kyoichi Campus. I took some pictures. It looked as if they just have finished it day before yesterday.

Some nice chicks were coming out from the glass sliding doors thus I decided to enter .

Nice floor, plenty of flowers, maybe something was going on, I thought.

Anyway at the front desk the gentle young lady didn’t know who was the architect in charge of the design, or renovation of that building.

Than I went further, descending a stair and. Gosh!


A T-Rex skeleton was there!

Than I found a fossils gallery whom despite I decided to not shoot, it gave reason to that exibihition!

Here some more pictures and the address

address on google