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6.jpg

Shinonome Canal Court, Block 1
Tokyo, Japan 2003

 

In Japan, too, large-scale housing blocks of the postwar era tend to function like high-rise storage racks, in which redundant housing types oriented to the model of the nuclear family are stacked. Against the backdrop of changing lifestyles, the Shinomome Canal Court project (Block 1) comprising 420 units sets out to reinterpret the densified overall form and in the process utilize the specific urban potentials of a large-scale cubature. The housing units with anterior “neutral” zones are put on the market under the title SOHO (small office/home office), with their glass fronts bordering on public foyers that are repeatedly cut into the structural shell as two-story loggias, providing natural light and air to the central connecting corridors. Occasionally grouped around these open common areas are solo boxes that can be enlivened as office, hobby space, or nursery. The apartments, some spanning two floors, have open floor plans that can be easily altered with folding partitions as well as a bath awash with light that is transparent on the interior side and situated at the narrow, private loggia.

 

Angelika Fitz

 

Maximum density


architects:
Riken Yamamoto & Field Shop

 

 

 

06_Block1.jpg

Foto: © Takahiro Tanabe, 2008

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New Lifestyle of Living in the City Tokyo, Oktober 2008

 


Opening a glass door from the landscaped community terrace while looking into the inside room, we find ourselves in the middle of the reception room for the architecture office of the married couple Tanabe. The bright interior has two large windows. There is a glass meeting table and some aquariums in the room. Transparency in abundance, a feeling of clarity and purity, a selection of tasteful furnishings and small utensils. The small objects left lying here and there attest to the vitality of both residents.

 

Both run an architecture office together here. Mr. Tanabe once worked in Riken Yamamoto’s architecture office where he was personally involved in the planning of this housing complex. As a member of the planning team under the direction of Mr. Yamamoto back then, he let his dreams touch the sky. And today he is actually living in what was then his dream building. But this wasn’t as natural as it sounds, for the apartment complex had caused quite a stir upon its completion, causing there to be fifty times as many applicants as there were apartments. The Tanabes were truly exceptionally lucky.

 

Like in many countries throughout the world, Japan of the twentieth century saw countless apartment blocks spring up, particularly in the second half of the century, and more specifically following the Second World War when an acute housing shortage reigned, which the government attempted to counteract through the mass building of housing blocks. All the same, the housing block building type itself is far from having been perfected in Japan, and its architectural problems remain unsolved today.

 

Simply put, the public housing blocks may be functional and competitive in price, but they are always realized stereotypically and according to the same pattern. Even today they have not succeeded in becoming liberated from the moral clutches of the postwar era, at which time creating only a minimum degree of living atmosphere was considered necessary. Complexes erected by the private sector are governed by market trends and are designed such that any measure of practicality is frequently disregarded, with a pattern being ultimately followed after all, one that—since more marketable—is continually repeated. Regardless of whether from the public or the private sector, the issue of living quality has been of little concern in either case. This can certainly not be ascribed to a lack of creative proposals by architects. Whoever takes a closer look at the historical development of housing blocks in Japan will immediately recognize that architects have put an enormous amount of energy into the development of such building types, thereby also having sparked animated debate. Nevertheless, this has comprised, considering the total number of such buildings, a negligible portion—too small, in fact, to stimulate a trend reversal.  ...

 
Souhei Imamura


Translation from German into English: Dawn Michelle d’Atri

 

for entire text see catalogue


Größere Kartenansicht

 

 

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