- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 12 Feb 2018
The Japanese House: Architecture and Life after 1945
In April 2017, Designing Buildings Wiki attended a major first-of-its-kind UK exhibition at London’s Barbican Centre. ‘The Japanese House: Architecture and Life after 1945’ focuses on Japanese domestic architecture since the country was left devastated by the Second World War.
The exhibition features more than 40 architects, from the celebrated Tadao Ando and Kenzo Tange, to those little-known outside their home country such as Kazuo Shinohara and Osamu Ishiyama. Together they are responsible for a glut of groundbreaking architectural projects that quite literally re-built Japan from the ruins and provided innovative and experimental solutions to urbanisation, traditional building and densification.
Through a range of media – video, aural, models and prints – the exhibition takes the visitor through the different phases and trends that developed out of the need for rapid solutions to critical problems (approximately 4.2 million homes were destroyed by the end of the war). Japanese architects, in particular the developing movement of Metabolists, agreed that the solution lay in standardised, modular designs using prefabricated elements.
It is interesting to note that while Europe, at the same time, focused on large housing complexes, Japan concentrated on the single family home and how it could adapt to the realities of the 20th century. It is hard not to draw parallels with the UK’s contemporary housing shortage, and the need to re-imagine domestic architecture to meet the pressing realities of the 21st century.
The centre-piece of the exhibition is an ambitious 1:1 scale recreation of the Moriyama House by the Pritzker Prize-winning architect Ryue Nishizawa. It is considered one of the most important designs of the 21st century, representing as it does a radical decomposition of the conventional house.
10 individual units are arranged around the sturdy structural frame of the Barbican as though intended as part of its original design.
There is also an ambitious new commission by architect/historian Terunobu Fujimori who has designed a hand-charred timber teahouse with a playful garden through which visitors can stroll. This arrangement provides an intriguing accompaniment to the minimalism of the Moriyama House, offering a glimpse of the range of traditional Japanese architecture.
This is a well-presented and thoroughly engaging exhibition that all those with an interest in architecture and design, or simply with a curiosity for Japan, would do well to experience.
The Japanese House runs until 25th June 2017.
Images courtesy Barbican Centre.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Bridge Engineering exhibition.
- Engineering the World - VandA Museum.
- Imagine Moscow exhibition.
- Nakagin Capsule Tower.
- Social housing.
- Urban design.
- Vernacular architecture.
Featured articles and news
Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) can go some way to show the impact of new buildings on their surroundings.
The shortlist for the 2018 prize for the UK's best new building is revealed.
Amendment to Bill aims to provide councils with greater powers to increase tax premiums on empty homes.
As the latest summer blockbuster 'Skyscraper' is released, we look at some of the best uses of buildings in film.
Read our introductory article on how to layout a building.
New cross-party report calls for combustible cladding ban to be extended to all high-rise residential buildings.
Dr Nicholas Falk, director of the URBED Trust, explains why metro cities are the future of urbanisation.
From next week, UK firms can bid for a share of a £12.5m fund to boost productivity, performance and quality.
A right to light generally refers to the right to receive sufficient light through an opening.
Interference and compatibility - the effects of electromagnetic fields in the workplace.