Limited space and high land prices have prompted Japanese architects to think well outside the box. From vegetables sprouting from rooftops to buildings seem to float on water – Japanese architecture is some of the most imaginative in the world. Here are some of the most innovative structures Japan has come up with.
House NA in Tokyo
Sou Fujimoto’s wall-less home, House NA, is a three-story house divided into staggered platforms. It has enough room for a library, a roof terrace and even a garage.
Garden and House, Tokyo
Ryue Nishizawa’s Garden and House squeeze five single-room stories into an area four meters wide.
Bird’s Nest Atami in Shizuoka
Hiroshi Nakamura’s Bird’s Nest Atami takes a traditional tea house 10 meters up into a 300-year-old camphor tree while keeping it entirely separate on a steel trellis.
Nakagin Capsule Tower in Shimbashi, Tokyo
The Japanese tapped into the idea of micro-living long before the tiny house movement became fashionable. In the 1970s, Kisho Kurokawa’s Nakagin Capsule Tower broke new ground with its 140 minuscule capsules plugged into a central core. They contain compact apartments, storage areas, and office space. This particular building even briefly featured in the film ‘The Wolverine’.
Church on the Water in Shimukappu-mura
Two overlapping cubes connected by a curved staircase shape Tadao Ando’s Church on the Water. Religious icons are replaced by stark concrete walls and a spectacular lake view
Tower of Winds in Yokohama
Japan’s first interactive structure is Toyo Ito’s perforated, aluminum-clad Tower of Winds. It changes color thanks to wind-and sound-sensitive lamps and neon rings.
Jikka in Shizuoka
In Shizuoka, architect Issei Suma challenges domestic design to create a retirement home out of teepee-shaped wooden huts. The complex is made up of five structures which contain a kitchen, a bedroom, a bathroom, storage areas and a spiral-shaped swimming pool.
Leek House in Machida, Tokyo
Among Japan’s most innovative domestic designs is the surreal Leek House by Terunobu Fujimori, with its rows of sprouting leaks in the roof.