Book: New Architecture in Japan
This welcome addition to the library is a comprehensive overview of over 100 recent projects in Japan, from large scale pieces of urban to small scale residential gems, photographed with an almost fetishistic eye for detail (such as the glossy blacks and velvety concrete of the Ware House in Hokkaido by Jun Igarashi, featured in W*120).
The Sumners have made frequent trips to the country over the years, working closely with the emerging generation of architects and doing much to help bring what was always an exotic but relatively unfamiliar scene firmly into the global architecture discourse.
In her essay on the nature of modern architecture in Japan, Yuki Sumner writes of the inherent dubieties of Japan’s architectural spaces, with their little deviations and ambiguities, the subversions of the ’normal’ that make for a richly compelling and highly individualistic built environment, from high-tech heroics to carefully crafted wooden pavilions.
As well as the introduction and project texts, the book includes contributions by David Littlefield and Wallpaper* regular Naomi Pollock, covering everything from the complex pillar and slab arrangement of Ito’s Sendai Mediatheque to the seamless, neo-digital cityscape created by the new temples of consumption in Omotesando.
What marks these images out is context, be it urban or rural. Always mindful of bringing a building’s surroundings to the fore, the Sumners’ selection works best when it makes explicit the role played by landscape and nature in contemporary Japanese architecture, be it the tightest urban residence or a lakeside museum