Japan is the land of the unusual, quirky and revolutionary, a place where you pretty much expect anything, including extraordinary architecture that reinvents the way we think of buildings. We’ll explore some of these unusual designs reviewing the details that make them special.
A complex of teepee buildings
They may look like teepee tents but they’re actually sturdy and durable buildings. They were designed by architect Issei Suma and they form a small complex in Shizuoka Prefecture, a mountainous region in Japan. The complex was designed for elderly people and it’s made up of five structures, each with a specific function.
The tent-like structures offer functions such as a kitchen, a spiral-shaped pool, a nursing care area, a small dining area and living quarters. The pool was designed with a distinctive spiral shape inn order to allow easy access to wheelchair users.
The Ribbon Chapel
Already a very famous landmark, the Ribbon Chapel was built in 2013 in Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan. It was a project by Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP Architects and it covers an area of 80 square meters in the garden of a resort hotel. Perched on a hill, the chapel enjoys a panoramic view of the surroundings. The design is a metaphor for marriage, featuring intertwining spiral staircases that support each other forming twists and turns and connect at the top.
House NA is definitely not a typical home. It was designed by Sou Fukimoto Architects and, as you can see, it’s transparent. That means that there’s basically no privacy for the inhabitants since everything is exposed to the neighbors and anyone passing by. However, that does mean that a lot of natural light enters the house and that there’s an unobstructed view of the surroundings. The house is situated in Tokyo and is organized on three levels.
The Nagakin Capsule Tower
It’s hard to believe that this tower was built in 1972 given how modern and playful it looks. Located in Tokyo, Japan, The Nakagin Capsule Tower was in fact built decades ago. It was a project by Kisho Kurokawa and it was a prototype. A very interesting detail is the fact that each module can be replaced or removed if necessary.
The tower is a collection of 140 capsules all stacked together and rotated at various angles. They’re installed on a concrete core using only four high-tension bolts. Each module measures 4 m by 2.5 meters. When it was built, the tower was meant to serve as a housing complex for traveling businessmen.
ARTechnic Architects designed the Shell in 2008. As the name suggests, it’s a shell-shaped structure and it’s located in a wooden area in Nagano Prefecture, Japan. Surrounded by trees and vegetation, the structure becomes a part of nature and provides a comfortable living environment for those that want to sync with nature. Initially, the villa had to be built around a large fir tree but the design was simplified and reduced to a shell and a J shape formed of two oval cylindrical structures of different sizes.
The Hirano Clinic
Completed in 2014, the Hirano Clinic was a project by TSC Architects. It’s located in Aichi Prefecture, Japan and it occupies an area of 223 square meters. Its most interesting design feature is the series of house-shaped windows. These give the clinic a friendly look creating a domestic symbol meant to make everyone feel welcome and comfortable. This friendliness also defines the interior which is decorated with neutral and warm colors and simple and modern elements.
The Nasu Tepee House
Nasu is a popular summer resort in Tochigi Prefecture in Japan. That’s where you’ll find this cute family house that’s shaped a lot like a teepee tent. The clients worked with the architects from Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP to create a space that’s friendly and functional. They decided that the house needed a high ceiling that could bring in natural light. Considering that the site is surrounded by a dense forest, that was a clever and expected choice.
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