May 15th Tue., 2012

New book ‘How to Make a Japanese House’ by Cathelijne Nuijsink

NAi Publishers present preview images and synopsis of new book 'How to Make a Japanese House' by Cathelijne Nuijsink.

Nowhere in the world have so many architects built so many small detached houses as in Japan. The minute scale of things, the limited building budgets, the extraordinary living requirements of families, the excessive amount of building regulations and the absence of a review committee governing aesthetics all contribute to making the detached Japanese residence a perfect laboratory for experimenting. But without an understanding of the traditional Japanese house, the cultural norms governing family relations and the restrictions to building in highly urbanised areas, it is not always immediately apparent to Western eyes that these extremely small houses are comfortable places to live in. This book unveils the modern single-family dwelling in Japan. Siting, culture and the spirit of the times make it clear that the strength of the Japanese house has little to do with the rational, such as the number of square metres it encompasses, but everything to do with the spiritual.

This book describes the innovative design methods of twelve young Japanese architects in the light of the dwellings they have realized. Interviews with Sou Fujimoto, Kumiko Inui, Jun Igarashi, Akihisa Hirata, Yuko Nagayama, Ryuji Nakamura, Hideyuki Nakayama, Junya Ishigami, Go Hasegawa, Mount Fuji Architects, TNA Architects, and Makoto Tanijiri illustrate how they are inspired by the dynamics of Tokyo’s constantly changing urban landscape. By observing location and clients closely, the architects come up with phenomenal solutions, making creative use of light, unreachable space, depth and layering. Unique, family-specific houses are created using intangible design means, all of which seek, in a different way, to establish a positive relationship with the city. Nine interviews with master architects Jun Aoki, Kazuyo Sejima, Kazuhiro Kojima, Kengo Kuma, Akira Yoneda, Katsuhiro Miyamoto, Yoshiharu Tsukamoto, Manabu Chiba and Ryue Nishizawa situate the designs of this youngest generation of architects within the historical context of the development of Japanese housing. At the same time, each of their projects illustrates the meaning of one individual small dwelling in the context of the vast metropolis of Tokyo.

While How to Make a Japanese House reveals the state of the art of modern domestic architecture, it also throws light on the different generations of architects and the diversity of approaches to housing taken by Japanese architects. Critical monologues by Yoshiharu Tsukamoto, Taro Igarashi and Jun Aoki are complemented by thematic essays, opening up the mysterious modern Japanese house and making it intelligible. The 21 completed houses in this reference book are richly documented with drawings and photos. They will form a source of inspiration for everyone who is interested in building in a compact city, experimenting with private commissions, or simply looking for a fresh approach to the design process.
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