Low-water Crossings on the Shimanto River

A Symbiotic Relationship with Nature

Low-water Crossings on the Shimanto River

Over 60 low-water crossings, mostly built in the 1950s, can still be found in southwestern Shikoku, a common typhoon path where the Shimanto River and its tributaries are subject to flooding. With rounded girders on both ends and no handrails, the bridges, which serve as life lines between villages and the forests and farmlands, have in part shaped the regional culture. The Shimanto River, which escaped the large-scale development projects that were undertaken as part of modernization, is part of a cultural landscape, based on a symbiotic relationship with nature, including natural disasters, that has been strongly maintained in the region.

  • Low-water Crossings on the Shimanto River

    Shimanto, Kochi Prefecture

    Photo Credit: Takuya Omura

  • Low-water Crossings on the Shimanto River

    Shimanto, Kochi Prefecture

    Photo Credit: Takuya Omura

Shikoku

Shikoku

The smallest of the four main islands, Shikoku (which literally means “four countries”) comprises the four prefectures of Tokushima, Kagawa, Ehime, and Kochi. The Pacific Ocean and Seto Inland Sea surrounds this island group, with the Pacific side consisting of the portion located to the south of Shikoku’s mountain range. The region has a relatively warm climate with some areas experiencing more rain throughout the year.

  • Seto Inland Sea Folk History Museum

  • Naoshima Town Hall

  • Imabari City Office Complex (City Hall, City Assembly, and Public Hall)

  • Low-water Crossings on the Shimanto River

Imabari City Office Complex (City Hall, City Assembly, and Public Hall)

“Heart of the City” in Kenzo Tange’s Hometown

Imabari City Office Complex (City Hall, City Assembly, and Public Hall)

Imabari, an industrial city facing the Seto Inland Sea, was the hometown of world-renowned architect Kenzo Tange. Tange designed the Imabari City Hall and City Assembly (1958) and the Imabari Public Hall (1965) as a gift to the city. The three buildings all have exposed concrete finishes and are functionalist in design but their different forms give them distinct characters. They surround a courtyard, also designed by Tange, and convey a sense of harmony. The design of the complex was Tange’s response to discussions at the 1951 meeting of the International Congresses of Modern Architecture (CIAM VIII), which focused on the functionality and symbolism of the “Heart of the City.”

  • Imabari City Office Complex (City Hall, City Assembly, and Public Hall)

    Imabari, Ehime Prefecture

    Kenzo Tange 

    1958, 1965

  • Imabari City Office Complex (City Hall, City Assembly, and Public Hall)

    Imabari, Ehime Prefecture

    Kenzo Tange 

    1958, 1965

Naoshima Town Hall

Japanese Postmodernism Symbolizing Local Government

Naoshima Town Hall

The top portion of the Naoshima Town Hall is based on Hiunkaku, a temple building in Kyoto. Besides this, an assortment of Japanese architectural elements, dating from the late middle ages to the present, are quoted and juxtaposed incoherently throughout the building, inside and out. These populist forms responded to the will of the mayor, who advocated the physical and spiritual independence of the islands. The designer received the commission based on pre-modern interpersonal relations; his professor had worked with different mayors and city officials over the course of many years. This building, completed in 1984, was engendered by the confluence of distinct forces, namely, the modern spirit of postwar local government and the postmodernist trend in architecture.

  • Naoshima Town Hall

    Naoshima, Kagawa Prefecture

    Kazuhiro Ishii 

    1984

  • Naoshima Town Hall

    Naoshima, Kagawa Prefecture

    Kazuhiro Ishii 

    1984

Seto Inland Sea Folk History Museum

The Stones Born from the Mountains

Seto Inland Sea Folk History Museum

This museum stands on a small mountain that overlooks the sea. The building presents itself like a fort, however the interior is fairly bright due to a skylight provided in the ceiling. Affixed to the outside wall of the building is andesite that had been obtained when part of the mountain had been blasted with dynamite to make space for the construction of the museum. The building seems to deeply harmonize with the mountain upon which it stands, due to its very use of local materials. A sculptor from the local region was responsible for the stone construction, and an individual who at the time had been the chief of the architecture department of the prefectural office oversaw the design of the whole building. The architecture was realized through combining local efforts and materials.

Honshu

Honshu

Honshu is Japan’s largest and most populous island group, and the country’s main economic center. Japan’s capital city Tokyo, as well as the main cities of Yokohama, Osaka, Kobe, and Kyoto are found in this region . Honshu also contains Japan’s highest mountain, Mount Fuji, and its largest lake, Lake Biwa.

  • 1st Cluster

  • 2nd Cluster

  • 3rd Cluster

  • 4th Cluster

  • 5th Cluster

Honshu E

Honshu E

  • Hotel Tateyama and Murodo Terminal

  • 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa

  • Mikuni Jetty Port

  • Yodoko Guest House (Former Yamamura House)

  • Hozan-ji Temple Shishikaku

  • Koyaguchi Elementary School
  • Toukouen

  • Shimane Arts Center “Grand Toit”

  • Tomata Dam

  • Tsuyama Culture Center

  • The Honshu-Shikoku Bridge Project

  • Motomachi and Chojuen Apartments

Motomachi and Chojuen Apartments

Monuments to Ordinary Life in Hiroshima

Motomachi and Chojuen Apartments

In 1978, an apartment complex was built in an effort to redevelop an area concentrated with people who had lost their dwellings when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. The site deftly conveys the architect Masato Otaka’s commitment to incorporating modern technology in a building to create a symbol of ordinary life. Though the apartments are markedly different from the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park (designed by Kenzo Tange), which function as “monuments to the extraordinary,” Otaka’s buildings are also a powerful part of Hiroshima, the site of the atomic bomb.

  • Motomachi and Chojuen Apartments

    Hiroshima, Hiroshima Prefecture

    Masato Otaka 

    1978

  • Motomachi and Chojuen Apartments

    Hiroshima, Hiroshima Prefecture

    Masato Otaka 

    1978

The Honshu-Shikoku Bridge Project

A Huge Project Linking the Entire Country

The Honshu-Shikoku Bridge Project

This massive project to link the islands of Honshu and Shikoku (separated by the Seto Inland Sea) by rail and road via three routes (Kobe to Naruto, Kojima to Sakaide, and Onomichi to Imabari) incorporating a wide range of bridges with some of the world’s longest spans, exemplifies Japan’s policy of “well-balanced land development,” which was undertaken over a period of some 50 years during the second half of the 20th century. The undertaking led to huge changes in the area’s economic and living environments. And this advanced bridge-building technology, developed to surmount severe natural conditions, has in turn led to a variety of projects all over the world.

  • The Honshu-Shikoku Bridge Project

    Hyogo Prefecture, Tokushima Prefecture, Okayama Prefecture, Kagawa Prefecture, Hiroshima Prefecture, Ehime Prefecture

    〔Kojima-Sakaide Route〕1988 

    〔Kobe-Naruto Route〕1988 

    〔Onomichi- Imabari Route〕 1999 

    http://www.jb-honshi.co.jp/english/ 

    Photo credit: Takuya Omura

  • The Honshu-Shikoku Bridge Project

    Hyogo Prefecture, Tokushima Prefecture, Okayama Prefecture, Kagawa Prefecture, Hiroshima Prefecture, Ehime Prefecture

    〔Kojima-Sakaide Route〕1988 

    〔Kobe-Naruto Route〕1988 

    〔Onomichi- Imabari Route〕 1999 

    http://www.jb-honshi.co.jp/english/ 

    Photo credit: Takuya Omura

Tsuyama Culture Center

A Concrete Castle of Culture

Tsuyama Culture Center

This uniquely shaped structure, erected on the remains on the castle in Tsuyama, was built in 1965 as a regional culture center. The structural components, which formally incorporate a type of support member used in Buddhist architecture, hold up a series of successively larger planes. The building was made with precast concrete, a state-of-the-art technology at the time. The Brutalist building, which strikes a contrast to the stone castle walls, was realized with the help of some of Japan’s most prominent graphic designers and structural engineers. After World War II, the structure helped revive the glories of regional culture of the past in a contemporary manner.

  • Tsuyama Culture Center

    Tsuyama, Okayama Prefecture

    Koji Kawashima 

    1965

    http://www.t-arts.or.jp/untitled.html 

    Courtesy of Tsuyama City

  • Tsuyama Culture Center

    Tsuyama, Okayama Prefecture

    Koji Kawashima 

    1965

    http://www.t-arts.or.jp/untitled.html 

    Courtesy of Tsuyama City

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