Importance of Small Architecture by Kengo Kuma

Kuma’s book, “Small Architecture,” is full of inspiration that questions the myth of modern architecture, which has become excessively big, hard and alienating. He advocates small architecture as an alternative, due to its boundless potential.

“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.

Tea ceremony and chashitsu: the ultimate example of Zen design

Chapter 3-2: Bonsai – the art of condensation

In the art of bonsai, a single tree is supposed to represent the condensed essence of the vast nature. There are five major types of bonsai: pines and oaks (evergreen), other plants (deciduous), flowers, fruits and grass. Find out more.

Chapter 3-3: Small is engaging – MUJI toothbrush stand

MUJI’s tiny porcelain toothbrush stand is one of MUJI’s most popular items. Customers buy them in bulk, often assortment of different colors, and use them for various purposes, not just as a toothbrush stand. Not only was the product well received, it unleashed users’ creativity.

Chapter 3-4: Tai’an – Rikyu’s microcosmic teahouse

“Tai-an” is the ultimate small tea hut, designed by the legendary tea master Sen no Rikyu. According to architect Kengo Kuma: “You won’t understand what Tai-an is all about until you actually crawl into this small hut and experience the very moment when the building, which is almost as small as your body, starts dissolving and enveloping your body softly and lightly, as if it were your clothes.”

Chapter 3-5: MUJI House – Edit your own life style

MUJI “Wood House” model home in Kanagawa, Japan

We visited MUJI’s model house in Kanagawa, Japan. The model, the “Wood House,” is a “tiny house” of about 1,000 square feet that delivers edit-ability and flexibility you could never have expected in other homes. The secret? Efficient insulation and no walls that would otherwise have limited your option to leverage each corner of the space. Find out how it works.

MUJI Hut: tiny house dissolving into the environment

MUJI released a “hut” in 2017 which is even tinier than a “tiny house.” Coming with the interior size of 9.1 m2, it delivers agility, mobility and flexibility you would never expected from a house. “Place it anywhere you want,” says MUJI. With the MUJI Hut, you are almost free to choose your ideal location to spend your time.

Demystifying the mysteries of Japanese aesthetics

What’s the common secret behind traditional Zen arts/culture, wabi-sabi, MUJI, Japanese architecture, sushi and Totoro? It’s the unique approach toward nature.

Beauty of ambiguous architecture: Sou Fujimoto

Sou Fujimoto, one of the most sought-after Japanese architects today, has the incomparable ability to define spatial dimensions and to let a unique kind of abundance emerge even from limited spaces. He often likens his architecture to “forests,” which consist of many small elements to make a large and complex whole. Many ambiguous things “you don’t know” or “don’t make sense” help maintain the wholeness of the forest, says Fujimoto, which is what he captures and transplants in his works.

Rental Space Tower by Sou Fujimoto (2): House Vision 2016

Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto is a master of ambiguity. With Rental Space Tower, he blurs boundaries between ownership and rental. New potential emerge.