“So-an,” the 1000-year-old Zen tiny house

The tiny house was already a “choice” for some 1,000 years ago. In medieval Japan, people called their version of the tiny house 草庵 (so-an), “thatched hut” away from home. Practitioners of Buddhism, artists and/or wanderers created the “tiny house movement” and created so-an as a base for freer, ideal life.

When Walter Gropius met Japanese architecture: The House of Prof. K Saito by Kiyoshi Seike

When Walter Gropius visited Japan in 1954, he requested to see the “House of Prof K. Saito” designed by Kiyoshi Seike. He described it as a “happy marriage between the tradition of Japanese architecture and modern technology.” Japanese architect/historian Terunobu Fujimori called it the wooden “Farnsworth House.”

Horyuji: How do you make wooden buildings that last 2,000 years?

Toyo Ito: Tama Art University Library

When architect Toyo Ito saw the location of the Tama Art University Library, he thought about caves. But why caves? “I think I have been subconsciously fascinated by them,” Ito recalls. Caves are completely different from conventional architecture. They have no exterior; only interiors. They have entrance but no outlets. Lights or winds act very differently in there.

Japanese architecture: is it really natural and sustainable?

Many people think that Japanese architecture is uniquely sustainable and in harmony with nature, and has a new potential to become an alternative to modern-era architecture. Is it true? The key is “aesthetics.” Unique perspectives on naturalism by Kengo Kuma, Toyo Ito, Sou Fujimoto, Tadao Ando.

Toyo Ito Interview in Omishima: Architecture then, now and next 3

I spent a morning with Toyo Ito on Omishima island in 2018, where the Toyo Ito Museum of Architecture, Imabari opened an exhibit “Protecting = Creating the Sacred Island of Omishima.” Enjoy Ito’s inspiring story of architecture then, now and next.

Toyo Ito Interview in Omishima: Architecture then, now and next 1

I spent a morning with Toyo Ito on Omishima island in 2018, where the Toyo Ito Museum of Architecture, Imabari opened an exhibit “Protecting = Creating the Sacred Island of Omishima.” Enjoy Ito’s inspiring story of architecture then, now and next.

Toyo Ito Interview in Omishima: Architecture then, now and next 2

I spent a morning with Toyo Ito on Omishima island in 2018, where the Toyo Ito Museum of Architecture, Imabari opened an exhibit “Protecting = Creating the Sacred Island of Omishima.” Enjoy Ito’s inspiring story of architecture then, now and next.

Tadao Ando: Endeavors at The National Art Center, Tokyo

The exhibition “Tadao Ando: Endeavors” held at the National Art Center, Tokyo in 2017 was a comprehensive compilation of Ando’s energetic work that stretches over 50 years, including the replica of the “Church of the Light,” the installation of the Naoshima Project, the Row House of Sumiyoshi, Punta della Dogana and the Shanghai Poly Grand Theatre.

Toyo Ito Omishima Project: Omishima Minna-no-Winery

Architect Toyo Ito founded the Omishima Minna-no-Winery in 2015, an inspiring endeavor to convert abandoned orchards in a small, rural yet history-rich island in the Seto Naikai into vineyards, so that the relinquished assets can be transformed into new values and opportunities for the island.

The ZA-KOENJI Public Theater: Experience the swirling potential of performing arts

The ZA-KOENJI Public Theater was designed by Toyo Ito. It is a circus marquee suddenly emerged in the middle of urban Tokyo. Directed by legendary theater director Makoto Sato, the venue is offering a wide variety of performing arts and other events for local communities and beyond.

Rural is the new black: Toyo Ito Omishima Project

After decades of progressive endeavors exploring new opportunities of urban living by translating the “modern” in a unique way, Toyo Ito is going rural. And there is a profound reason behind this. You will discover how he’s come to see the end of the modern system, and how he is finding a new future on the small island called Omishima in Western Japan, that still retains people’s potential embraced by a unique local environment. Going rural is the new black beyond modernism.

Toyo Ito Omishima Project: Omishima Ikoi-no-Ie

大三島 憩の家 (Omishima Ikoi-no-Ie) is one of the few visitor accommodations in beautiful Omishima Island in Seto Naikai, Western Japan. Architect Toyo Ito is heavily involved in the revitalization activities in Omishima, and Ikoi-no-Ie is one of the flagship projects that renovated old elementary school.

The architecture of awe: Musashino Art University Library by Sou Fujimoto

Sou Fujimoto designed his own “Library of Babel” at the Musashino Art University. It is the architecture of awe – a mesmerizing world of duality materialized by a spiral forest that consists of books and the absence of books (empty bookcases).

Japan in Architecture: Genealogies of Its Transformation – Mori Art Museum

Experience the sukiya-zukuri: Setouchi Minato no Yado

In scenic/historic Onomichi City, Hiroshima, you can stay at an exquisite, traditional Japanese sukiya-style house renovated by a local business Discoverlink Setouchi. Named Setouchi Minato no Yado, the houses overlook downtown and stunningly beautiful Seto Naikai Inland Sea.

“A Wild Architecture Chase” in Seto Naikai Inland Sea: Japan’s hidden travel destination

Big ambition from a small island: Toyo Ito Museum of Architecture, Imabari

The Toyo Ito Museum of Architecture, Imabari is located on a small, traditional island in West Japan. After decades of progressive architectural experiments based in Tokyo, Toyo Ito is pursuing the future of architecture on this heritage-rich island that has been preserved from aggressive modernization.”

Kengo Kuma Exhibition: a LAB for materials

The report of Kengo Kuma’s exhibition “a LAB for materials” at the Tokyo Station Gallery. As the Japanese title means “Kuma’s things: materials that whisper and talk”, the exhibit focuses on how Kuma leverages various materials to re-define our relationship with nature through architecture.