Art4d No.221
Towards a New Vernacular :
From What to How the Japanses Takes Shape

We begin with the ‘house’ because ‘house’ represents culture and conceptualizes social values as well as the way of life and the economy of that society. We think it’s a good starting point for understanding any society.

Currently, the Japanese house (designed by architects) can be seen in almost every kind of media. This could be due to the various qualities of its character – its photogenic nature, extreme use of space, as well as its simplicity and clarity which helps consumers to ‘consume’ the work quickly.

Of course, the Japanese house’s specialties do not stop there and it’s not a coincidence that while we were planning this special issue, there were exhibitions about the Japanese house going on around the world as well as in Japan: the Legendary Houses in Postwar Japan, an exhibition presenting legendary houses in the Post World War, or the Japon, l’archipel de la maison exhibition in France which was not even organized by the Japanese. Or even the ‘In the Real World’ exhibition at the Japan Pavilion in the 14th Venice Biennale, although this does not clearly spell out the notion of ‘house’ but focuses on Japan during the ’70s -’80s, an era which almost naturally focuses on houses and also demonstrates the relationship between them and the context of the time.

However, what we wish to communicate here is the other side of the Japanese house that has not yet been mentioned much in media outside of Japan. This is the part that should help to bring about a better understanding of the context of ‘the Japanese house,’ and aid in a different reading of the architectural scenes in Japan that are normally ‘consumed’ by visuals alone.

Read more
Year: 2014
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Client: Art4d
Program: Research, Publication
Status: Published
Design Team: Pornpas Siricururatana, Takumi Saito
Collaborators: Jun Shimada (Photo), Yumi Shimosaka (Photo), Wilapa Kasviset (Graphic), Art4d team