1959 – Kamikozawa House – Kenji Hirose

The Karnikozawa house was built in 1959, when Japan was just starting its successful climb from devastation during the war to its current prosperity. The Kamikozawas lived in a modest wooden house at that time, but wanted to own a home that reflected their ideals and optimism. When they saw the work of architect Kenji Hirose in a magazine, they knew that they had found the architect for their dream house. Hirose has been a pioneer in the modern Japanese construction industry and is well known for having designed the first series of buildings in Japan using light gauge steel structures.

His original proposal was far above the budget set by Toshihiro Karnikozawa, who was only 32 years old at that time. However, both husband and wife worked with their architect — who was just a bit older — till they agreed on the plans, and completed a house that was quite radical for its time. Although built with Western materials and techniques, this one-storied, rectangular concrete box house has a calm sense of space reminiscent of traditional Japanese homes. Today, the house is transformed to a restaurant. The exterior, facade and concrete structure are still in good condition, while the interior changed strongly.

Name: Kamikozawa House│Type: Residential│Architect: Kenji Hirose│Completed: 1959


1954 – Saint Anselm’s Meguro Church – Antonin Raymond

At St. Anselm’s Meguro Church, architect Antonin Raymond explored the potential of folded-plate construction. The church and adjoining kindergarten, built for a Benedictine priory, face west, away from the Yamanote line. The structure consits of nine pairs of hollow, folded-plate columns of exposed concrete and beams of similar construction. Light enters trough the slits between the columns.

Name: Saint Anselm’s Meguro Church│Type: Church│Architect: Antonin Raymond│Completed: 1954


1958 – Seventieth Anniversary Memorial Auditorium TIT – Yoshiro Taniguchi

Tokyo Institute of Technology (TIT) was originally located in Kuramae, it was moved to the site of present Ookayama Campus after the Kanto Earthquake of 1923. The 800-seat auditorium was built to commemorate the seventieth anniversary of the school’s funding. The floor of the auditorium follows the slope of the site, but the exterior envelope disguises the building’s bulk. Daylight is introduced from one side of the space and dispersed by a wood lattice screen. An interesting combination of different textures is provided by the wood screen, concrete, glass and brick.

Name: Seventieth Anniversary  Memorial Auditorium Tokyo Institute of Technology│Type: Education│Architect: Yoshiro Taniguchi│Completed: 1958


1955 – International House of Japan – Kunio Maekawa / Junzo Sakakura / Junzo Yoshimura

A private non-profit organization founded in 1952 to promote international understanding, the International House is located on the former estate of Koyata Iwasaki, the businessman who completed the formation of the Mitsubishi zaibatsu. Finally, it passed on to government ownership after World War II and was disposed of to the International House.

The building, which includes various cultural and social facilities as well as lodgings for scholars, was designed by an unusual collaboration of three well-known modernist architect. Two of three, Sakakura and Maekawa, had both worked for Le Corbusier. An addition designes by Maekawa was built in 1976.

Name: International House of Japan│Type: Hotel│Architect: Kunio Maekawa / Junzo Sakakura / Junzo Yoshimura│Completed: 1955


1959 – Setagaya Ward Office – Kunio Maekawa

Setagaya Ward Office is an expetional exmaple of Kunio Maekawa’s facing concrete work. Outstanding is the folded plate structure of the auditorium. The concrete there becomes a impressive sculptural quality. Maekawa designed at the same time a similar auditorium  building for the UNSECO in Paris. In this work the strong influence by Le Corbusier is obvious. On June 25 2016, Setagaya Ward announced that they are considering demolishing and rebuilding the ward office buildings. The building do not meet current earthquake codes and could be at risk of collapse in a large earthquake.

Name: Setagaya Ward Office│Type: Administration│Architect: Kunio Maekawa│Completed: 1959


1959 – National Museum of Western Art – Le Corbusier

The Main Building was designed by the Le Corbusier (1887–1965). It is the only representative example of his work in the Far East; and the New York Times review of its opening suggested that the building itself presented an “artistic significance and beauty” which rivaled the paintings inside. The multi-story, reinforced concrete building was completed in March 1959. Le Corbusier asked that his three Japanese apprentices: Kunio Maekawa, Junzo Sakakura and Takamasa Yoshizaka be responsible for developing the detail drawings and supervising the construction.

The museum is square in plan with the main body of the galleries raised on piloti to first floor level. The layout is influenced by Le Corbusier’s Sanskar Kendra museum in Ahmedabad which was being designed at the same time. Entrance for visitors is at ground floor level via the 19th Century Hall. This double height space is lit from above with a north glazed pyramidal skylight intersected with reinforced concrete beams and a column. The paintings gallery wraps around 19th Century Hall, the ceiling is initially low but is raised to two storeys around the perimeter to display the paintings. Externally the building is clad in prefabricated concrete panels which sit on U-shaped frames supported by the inner wall. The building generally is constructed of reinforced concrete and the columns have a smooth concrete finish.

In July 2016 UNESCO listed 17 works by Le Corbusier as World Heritage Sites, including the 1959 National Museum of Western Art building

Name: National Museum of Western Art│Type: Museum│Architect: Le Corbusier│Completed: 1959