Library House, Shinichi Ogawa & Associates.
Today avant-garde houses are a regular sight in Japan. In a recent article on ArchDaily, Tokyo architect Alastair Townsend explains a little bit about Japan and its famous bizarre residential architecture.
According to Townsend, Japanese homes are mostly designed by young architects and often appear to show that anything is possible, from balconies with no handrails to homes with no windows. As it turns out, Japan is the country with the most registered architects per capita––a possible explanation for why each architect tries harder to stand out from the crowd.
An unconventional home requires an unconventional client, one who is willing to take risks in regards to design aesthetics. Though you might think these bold homes are built primarily for wealthy clients, most of them are actually small middle class homes.
In the US and Europe, deviating from the norm when it comes to residential architecture can jeopardize a home’s value. If you plan to sell in the future, it is risky to build an eccentric home; however, the logic is opposite in Japan as their homes depreciate like consumer goods and they don’t expect to sell.
After 30 years, a typical home in Japan generally loses all of its value and is demolished to build a new home. In fact, despite a shrinking population, home building remains steady; though the population is only one third of that in the US, the number of new homes built each year is comparable.
Since properties don’t hold value and homes are demolished and rebuilt, Japanese clients have the freedom to build homes that are personal expressions of their lifestyle and tastes. Neighbors also have little say in what is built next door, giving architects no risk to designing bizarre homes for their clients.
Check out the slideshow below for more photos of unique Japanese homes: