Toson Memorial Museum

A Small Museum Built by the Local Community

Toson Memorial Museum

A memorial museum established on the grounds of the poet Toson Shimazaki’s birthplace. The architect Yoshiro Taniguchi had been responsible for the design. Although the building is referred to as a “museum,” Taniguchi at the time had only designed the surrounding wall, garden, and the corridor-like exhibition room that has been built in parallel to the garden. Nevertheless, the circulation has been planned with optimal precision, such as providing visitors with momentarily views of the spot garden when entering the exhibition room. The region’s youth had proposed building a memorial museum in February 1947, less than two years after Japan’s defeat in World War II, and the local residents themselves including the area’s children partook in everything from the gathering of materials to construction work. The museum met its completion in November the same year.

Historic Villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama

From a Village Residents’ Charter to a World Heritage Site

Historic Villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama

Shirakawa-go and Gokayama are villages that have been designated as a World Heritage Site. Many vernacular houses remain in the village, built in the “gassho-zukuri” style with steeply inclined roofs, appropriated to alleviate the task of shoveling snow off the housetop and securing adequate floor space in upper floors for sericulture purposes. Some of the oldest houses are said to have been built over 300 years ago. During the reconstruction period after World War II, villages throughout Japan had become obsolete due to labor forces being channeled towards urban areas. This region had been no exception, however the efforts of residents in implementing a preservation movement under the keywords, “don’t sell, don’t rent, don’t destroy,” had proved successful in preserving the village to this day.

  • Historic Villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama

    Shirakawa, Gifu Prefecture

    Takayama, Gifu Prefecture

    Nanto, Toyama Prefecture

    http://ml.shirakawa-go.org/en/

    Courtesy of Shirakawa Village Office, Gifu Prefecture

  • Historic Villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama

    Shirakawa, Gifu Prefecture

    Takayama, Gifu Prefecture

    Nanto, Toyama Prefecture

    http://ml.shirakawa-go.org/en/

    Courtesy of Shirakawa Village Office, Gifu Prefecture

Tateyama Caldera Sabo Construction

Disaster Prevention in the Continuing Battle against a Deteriorating Mountain

Tateyama Caldera Sabo Construction

Many years ago part of the mountain that contains the Tateyama Caldera was destroyed in a massive earthquake. Half of the sediment created a large-scale debris flow that assaulted the Toyama Plain, causing catastrophic destruction. The remainder of the sediment accumulated inside the caldera, and for over 100 years, construction has continued in an effort to minimize the potential damage of this discharge. Among the most important structures is the Shiraiwa Sabo Dam, which was built in 1939. The techniques that were developed here have exerted an influence on other projects all over the world.

  • Tateyama Caldera Sabo Construction

    Toyama and Tateyama, Toyama Prefecture

    Courtesy of Tateyama Mountain Area Sabo Office, Horkuriku Regional Development Bureau, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism

  • Tateyama Caldera Sabo Construction

    Toyama and Tateyama, Toyama Prefecture

    Courtesy of Tateyama Mountain Area Sabo Office, Horkuriku Regional Development Bureau, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism

Kitazawa Flotation Plant

A Heritage of Modernization

Kitazawa Flotation Plant

Sado Island that has a perimeter of approximately 280 kilometers had once been home to Japan’s most prominent gold mine. Tunnels have since been developed as tourist routes, with the ruins of a vast flotation plant of 35 meters high, 115 meters wide, and 80 meters deep as well as a thickener of 50 meters in diameter, attracting attention and increasing the island’s appeal as a sightseeing location. The integrated landscape of the bold structure covered in greenery, is often likened to the popular animation film “Laputa: Castle in the Sky.” At the same time it also evokes the impression of an Asian ruin.

  • Kitazawa Flotation Plant

    Sado, Niigata Prefecture

    Courtesy of EAU

  • Kitazawa Flotation Plant

    Sado, Niigata Prefecture

    Courtesy of EAU

Nagaoka City Hall Aore

A City Hall with an Interior Plaza

Nagaoka City Hall Aore

This city hall was completed in 2012. Here, the architect Kengo Kuma had decided to design a building that had a brusque external appearance yet placed emphasis on its “interior.” A plaza referred to as the “nakadoma” was created in the center of the site around which various functions of the city hall were distributed, with a large roof covering the entire space. The “nakadoma” is open 24 hours to the public, and is not only surrounded by city hall facilities but also a gymnasium, convenience store, and an assembly hall. The public space connects various types of activities, creating a new sense of bustle and vibrancy.

  • Nagaoka City Hall Aore 

    Nagaoka, Niigata Prefecture

    Kengo Kuma

    2012

    Photo credit: Mitsumasa Fujitsuka

  • Nagaoka City Hall Aore

    Nagaoka, Niigata Prefecture

    Kengo Kuma

    2012

    Photo credit: Erieta Attali

Honshu C

Honshu C

  • Watarase Retarding Basin

  • Oya Subterranean Quarry Ruins

  • Gunma Music Center

  • Shirohige Higashi Municipal Apartments

  • Kanagawa Prefectural Museum of Cultural History (Former Yokohama Specie Bank)

  • Keihin Industrial Area

  • Yamanashi Fuefukigawa Fruit Park

  • The Former Kaichi School

  • Circular Tank Diversion Works

  • Traditional Tea-grass Integrated System

  • Nagoya City Hall and Aichi Prefectural Office Main Building

  • Hasshokan

  • Hongan-ji Dendoin (Former Shinshu Shinto Life Insurance Company Head Office)

  • Kyoto International Conference Center

  • TIME’S

TIME’S

A Terrace that Embraces the River

TIME’S

Designed by Tadao Ando and completed in 1984, TIME’S is a commercial building located in the downtown district of Kyoto city. The restricting conditions of the site that extends far lengthwise along the river with a narrow width facing onto the road had been a challenge to work with. Ando however, secured circulation of activity by creating a hybrid space that integrates aspects of a garden and passage, which continues through from the entrance to the rear yard. In the middle of this “garden passage” a terrace that comes almost level to the river’s surface was provided. Although it is a small commercial building the considerations of the design are not only efficiency orientated, and as a result the building provides visitors with the opportunity to revisit and contemplate the relationship between environment, architecture, nature and lifestyle.

  • TIME’S

    Nakagyo, Kyoto

    Tadao Ando

    1984

    © Tadao Ando

  • TIME’S

    Nakagyo, Kyoto

    Tadao Ando

    1984

    © Tadao Ando

Kyoto International Conference Center

Proof of Japan’s Postwar Return to the International Community

Kyoto International Conference Center

The Kyoto International Conference Center was completed in 1966 as proof of Japan’s return to the international community after World War II. Instead of relying on sloped roofs or other such expressions of tradition, the overall motif of the structure is based on a series of trapezoids and inverted trapezoids that have been derived from necessitated spatial functions. The design symbolizes an era when Japan seemed like a young country vigorously pursuing its future. The building’s configuration yielded continuous spatial volumes, both inside and out, and informal communication areas important for conferences.

Hongan-ji Dendoin (Former Shinshu Shinto Life Insurance Company Head Office)

“Evolutionary” Architecture in the Ancient Capital

Hongan-ji Dendoin (Former Shinshu Shinto Life Insurance Company Head Office)

This building was constructed in 1911 as a facility of Nishi Hongan-ji, one of Japan’s most renowned temples. Columns supporting its dome are constructed like those in Buddhist temples and windows between the columns feature Islamic-style arches. In short, the building incorporates designs not only from Europe and Japan but from the entire Eurasian continent. It was designed by Chuta Ito, the first researcher of Japanese architectural history. From 1902 to 1905, Chuta traveled around the world, studying world architecture. He based his design for the office on a theory of architectural evolution grounded in his experiences from the trip.

Hasshokan

The Modernization of Traditional Pleasure

Hasshokan

Miyuki-no-ma, located in a large Japanese garden at the Hasshokan restaurant, was built in 1950 to accommodate Emperor Showa when he attended the National Sports Festival. Incorporating modern elements into a traditional sukiya-zukuri-style form, the architect created a space in which a sense of calm arises from the restrained interior and the garden. This noble, pleasant design reflects the fact that the word miyuki (imperial visit) referred not only to the emperor’s formal visits but also to his other frequent trips to places of natural beauty.

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