Tokyo government approves Zaha Hadid’s designs for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Stadium while controversy continues

(Courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects)

(Courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects)

Despite courting backlash for being imposingly large and costly, Zaha Hadid’s designs for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Stadium have been green-lighted by the Tokyo government. Officials maintain that further modifications at this stage of proceedings would only incur further expenses from construction delays.

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Pictorial> Twenty-one of the best pavilions from Milan Expo 2015

All the Pavilions. (Courtesy Expo Milano 2015)

All the Pavilions. (Courtesy Expo Milano 2015)

Milano Expo 2015 is rolling along, with 145 countries and a host of international organizations, civil society organizations, and corporations displaying their food-centric traditions and the latest sustainable agriculture and food production techniques.

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Yoko Ono breaks ground on public art project for Chicago’s South Side

Rendering of the Garden of the Phoenix located in Jackson Park, Chicago with SKY LANDING (circled) and the New Phoenix Pavilion (proposed) and Museum of Science and Industry.

Rendering of the Garden of the Phoenix located in Jackson Park, Chicago with SKY LANDING and the proposed New Phoenix Pavilion and Museum of Science and Industry. (Project 120 Chicago)

The Chicago Park District starts work today on a new project by Yoko Ono. Her first permanent public art installation in the Americas will be a meditation on world peace, harmony with nature, and Japanese-American relations dubbed SKY LANDING, which is slated for a parcel of Jackson Park once home to the historic Phoenix Pavilion.

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Fumihiko Maki says architects who know better should speak up in the public’s interest

Fumihiko Maki addresses the Japan Society in New York. (James Way)

Fumihiko Maki addresses the Japan Society in New York. (James Way)

Octogenarian Fumihiko Maki shows no signs of slowing down, based on his presentation last night at the Japan Society in New York City. Going back as far as only the mid-1990s, the Pritzker Prize winner showed a handful of projects that, as moderator Toshiko Mori said, eschew a signature style yet are identifiably Maki buildings.

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MAD Architects drape this Japanese kindergarten with a mysterious facade meant to evoke a fort

"Clover House" by MAD

“Clover House” by MAD

Chinese architecture firm MAD has broken ground on their first project in Japan, a kindergarten in Okazaki, Aichi that will be designed in the owner’s own family house. The subsequent home-like atmosphere of the “Clover house” is meant to foster the school’s pedagogy of emotional bonds and trust. By making a school that is a shelter, the architects seek to create a haven for education.

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Richard Meier completes first phase of Japanese residential skyscraper project

(Courtesy Kunihiko Ishijima, Ishiguro Photographic Institute via Richard Meier & Partners Architects)

(Courtesy Kunihiko Ishijima, Ishiguro Photographic Institute via Richard Meier & Partners Architects)

Construction recently wrapped on Richard Meier‘s first residential building in Japan—and with its white louvers and glassy facade, it sure has the architect’s trademark look. The 49-story, 883-unit building in Tokyo is the first piece of the Harumi Towers, a residential development that will include 1,744 apartments when the second tower opens next April.

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Wonders of the World: Ashikaga Park in Japan begets a fairytale dreamscape with thousands of dripping wisteria blooms

Ashikaga Park (Courtesy Sarah Sutter)

Ashikaga Park (Courtesy Sarah Sutter)

If marveling at Spring’s fledgling flora will usher in warmer weather quicker, here’s something to ogle. The wisteria blooms at world-famous Ashikaga Park, located 50 miles from Tokyo, Japan, gives New York City’s botanical garden a run for its money with its live hanging curtains of cascading petals that render a fairytale-like dreamscape.

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On View> Groundswell: Guerilla Architecture in Response to the Great East Japan Earthquake

Architecture, On View, West
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
.
(Hiroyasu Yamauchi)

(Hiroyasu Yamauchi)

Groundswell: Guerilla Architecture in Response to the Great East Japan Earthquake
MAK Center
835 North Kings Road
West Hollywood, California
Through January 4, 2015

The Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011 devastated the island nation, setting off a tsunami that destroyed over 300 miles of coastline, causing the failure of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, and leaving more than 20,000 people dead and 470,000 without homes. The severe damage from the catastrophe propelled architects to take action, swiftly and creatively, as illustrated in a new exhibit, Groundswell: Guerilla Architecture in Response to the Great East Japan Earthquake.

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Eavesdrop> Are We Done with Architecture Petitions Yet? Zaha Hadid Faces Tokyo Backlash

Speaking of controversy, Zaha Hadid can’t catch a break! Since her stadium design for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics was unveiled, complaints have arisen about the scale and height of the project. Then two of Japan’s biggest architects—Toyo Ito and Fumihiko Maki—signed on to a petition calling for a revised design. As of press time more than 26,500 people have signed on to protest the design. Is someone’s star beginning to dim?

On View> “On the Thresholds of Space-Making” at Washington University in St. Louis

Midwest, On View
Thursday, March 27, 2014
.
Shinohara Kazuo, Great room (hiroma), House in White, Suginami Ward, Tokyo, 1964‐66. (Murai Osamu / Courtesy Tokyo Institute of Technology)

Shinohara Kazuo, Great room (hiroma), House in White, Suginami Ward, Tokyo, 1964‐66. (Murai Osamu / Courtesy Tokyo Institute of Technology)

On the Thresholds of Space-Making
Sam Fox School, Washington University
One Brookings Drive
St. Louis, Missouri
Through April 20

The work of Shinohara Kazuo (1925–2006), one of Japan’s most influential architects of the postwar generation, is surveyed in On the Thresholds of Space-Making. Shinohara gained popularity as an architect with his series of sublime purist houses designed over a thirty-year period that went through the 1980s. Shinohara scrutinized and reframed fundamental architectural conventions, such as public/private, body/space, and openness/enclosure.

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Shigeru Ban’s Mt. Fuji Visitors Center Flips the Mountain Upside Down

Fujisan

(Courtesy Shigeru Ban Architects)

In the summer of 2013, Mt. Fuji was named a UNESCO World Heritage site. The designation was of the cultural rather than the natural variety, in part because of the way the mountain has “inspired artists and poets.” Japanese architect Shigeru Ban plans to add a quite literal architectural chapter to this legacy of inspiration in the form of a visitor center commemorating the mountain’s recently-minted status.

More after the jump.

Out of Chaos, Japanese Designers Shape a Pop-Up Bar Made From Reed-Grass

Exterior view of Yoshi bar, courtesy Takeshi Asano

Exterior view of Yoshi bar, courtesy Takeshi Asano

Designer Naoya Matsumoto and her peers at Seian University of Art and Design have created a unique meeting space for students on the Japanese campus. Their creation, a pop-up bar, is created from six panels of locally-sourced reeds called Yoshi. The chaotic construction resembles a traditional gabled roof structure in abstract form. Each year, students of the design school are challenged to create objects from the Yoshi reeds which grow freely around Lake Biwa, an area close to the university campus.

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