Playing with blocks: Kengo Kuma designs Japanese-style Lego pieces

(Courtesy More Trees)

(Courtesy More Trees)

Scaling down from the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Stadium, Japanese architect Kengo Kuma has teamed up with forest conservation organization More Trees to create a set of triangular-shaped wooden building blocks.

More after the jump.

Kengo Kuma claims commission for Tokyo Olympic Stadium as Hadid fumes

Architecture, International, News
Wednesday, December 23, 2015
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Proposal from "B" (Courtesy Japan Sports Council)

(Courtesy Kengo Kuma)

At last, design for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Stadium has finally been decided with Kengo Kuma‘s winning commission. The Japanese firm fought off a plan by Toyo Ito to claim the prize. Zaha Hadid, however, was less than complimentary of the decision.

Continue reading after the jump.

After Zaha Hadid bows out, two new proposals unveiled for the Tokyo Olympic Stadium

Proposal from "B" (Courtesy Japan Sports Council)

Proposal from “A” (Courtesy Japan Sports Council)

After controversy and budget overruns surrounding Zaha Hadid‘s curvy design for Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium, the starchitect bowed out of the running. But Tokyo still needs a stadium, and two just-released proposals show a decidedly more traditional design.

Continue after the jump.

Muji Hut: Designers team up with minimalist retailer for three small but mighty prefab homes

Hut of Wood. Courtesy Muji Hut Facebook

Hut of Wood. Courtesy Muji Hut Facebook

Japanese retailer MUJI teamed up with well-known designers Naoto Fukasawa, Jasper Morrison, and Konstantin Grcic to create Muji Hut, a collection of three prefab homes. The minimalistic-inspired homes made their debut during Tokyo Design Week, which took place October 24 to November 3.

More after the jump.

Hadid concedes her $2 billion Japan National Stadium bid is dead

(Courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects)

(Courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects)

Despite months of refusing to admit the case, Zaha Hadid has finally conceded that her bid for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Stadium is dead in the water.

More after the jump.

Video> Zaha Hadid battles for her Tokyo Olympics Stadium project

Architecture, International
Thursday, August 27, 2015
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zaha1

(Courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects)

In an attempt to salvage the now-scrubbed project, Zaha Hadid has released a new video in defense of  her firm’s design for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Stadium. The film presents a robust—albeit familiar—argument for the reinstatement of the building. Once the bona fides of the project team (which includes Arup Sports) are revisited and a sensitivity to Japanese culture is declared, the oblique blame game begins.

Watch the video after the jump.

This skinny house in Tokyo is squeezed onto a lot only eight feet wide

Architecture, International
Thursday, August 20, 2015
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1.8 M residence in Tokyo. (Courtesy YUUA Architects & Associates)

1.8 M residence in Tokyo. (Courtesy YUUA Architects & Associates)

Limited space was no issue for Japanese architecture firm YUAA Architects in designing this slender home in Tokyo. Their so-called 1.8M House, true to its pint-sized name, stands on a mere eight-foot-wide and 36-foot-deep plot, sandwiched between squat neighborhood buildings and jutting up past their rooflines like a lanky sibling.

More after the jump.

BREAKING> Days after announcing its approval, Japanese government decides to drop Zaha Hadid’s Tokyo Stadium

(Courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects)

(Courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects)

Just days after giving the go-ahead on Zaha Hadid’s hotly contested designs for the Tokyo Stadium, the Japanese government has retracted its stance. With spiraling costs at the heart of contentions, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the project would now “start over from zero.”

Continue reading after the jump.

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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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.

Continue reading after the jump.

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.

Continue reading after the jump.

Jaklitsch/Gardner’s Three-Part Ode to Tokyo

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Jaklitsch/Gardner Architects' flagship Tokyo store for Marc Jacobs features a lantern-like, non-occupiable top story sheathed in punched aluminum. (Liao Yusheng)

Jaklitsch/Gardner Architects’ flagship Tokyo store for Marc Jacobs features a lantern-like, non-occupiable top story sheathed in punched aluminum. (Liao Yusheng)

Marc Jacobs flagship store features a tripartite facade of aluminum, tile, and glass.

Commissioned to design Marc Jacobs‘ flagship Tokyo store, Jaklitsch/Gardner Architects‘ first order of business was to rectify the desire for an iconic urban presence with strict local regulations. To make the 2,800-square-meter shop more visible from nearby Omotesando Street, the architects took advantage of a loophole in the building code that allowed them to double the height of the structure as long as the top half was not occupiable. The catch was that the code required a 500-millimeter gap between the occupiable and non-occupiable spaces. “Our first strategy was to create a louvered facade system that would disguise [the divide],” recalled principal Stephan Jaklitsch. But after an afternoon walk through the Imperial gardens, they reversed course. “We were inspired by the vernacular architecture,” said project architect Jonathan Kirk. “We wanted to somehow utilize the language of proportions, but also the materiality within that experience. Rather than trying to create something that was monolithic, we began to look at different materials for each of the building’s components.” The result, called Tōrō Ishi Ku (lantern-rock-void), makes its mark on the city with a tripartite facade in punched aluminum, bespoke tile, and glass.
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