1975 – Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum – Kunio Maekawa

The museum building incorporates three functions: a permanent and thematic exhibition function, an exhibit function for art groups and a cultural activities function. In response to the fore-mentioned three required functions, Maekawa established a broad open space in the middle and arranged a the building around it to create his basic composition.

Maekawa also established three themes to guide the design: Providing a “quiet, neutral” backdrop for the exhibited works, maintaining connection with the exterior environment, and using materials and construction methods that ensure optimal durability and thereby ‘produce remarkable results by means of ordinary materials.’” (Excerpt from the “Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum Basic Design Explanation”). On this basis, he worked out the concrete design details.
The critic, Shuichi Kato, wrote: “Tokyo streets have no order. Kunio Mayekawa has consistently tried to produce small urban spaces in this chaotic context, through his arrangement of plural building volumes on the site. The courtyards and voids within the building’s walls perform not only as passageways but as open spaces to breath, relax, meet people, and talk. His buildings, this is to say, contain harmonious urban spaces on a reduced scale.”

Name: Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum│Type: Museum│Architect: Kunio Maekawa │Completed: 1975

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1961 – Tokyo Metropolitan Festival Hall – Kunio Maekawa

The Tokyo Metropolitan Festival Hall, built in Ueno Park by Kunio Maekawa (1905 – 86) in 1961, responds in almost every possible way to Le Corbusier, for whom Maekawa had worked from 1928 to 1930. In its variety of features and finishes not only does it recall Chandigarh, La Tourette and even Ronchamp, it also adresses Le Corbusier’s own National Museum of Western Art (1959) across the road. The large building contains two auditoria, the smaller one square, with the stage placed in one corner and the seating on the diagonal, and the larger one, the concert hall, with a horeshoe-plan and galleries reaching around the side.


Name: Tokyo Metropolitan Festival Hall│Type: Concert Hall│Architect: Kunio Maekawa│Completed: 1961

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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

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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

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1964 – Kinokuniya Bookstore – Kunio Maekawa

1964 Kinokuniya Kunio Maekawa

After World War II Kunio Maekawa founded a company specialized in production of prefab concrete elements which you also find in this project: The 40 meters deep and 9-storey high building is placed in the busy shopping area of Shinjuku. Its basement is directly connected to the subway station. Originally the Kinokuniya bookstore was only on the first and second floor – besides there was also a restaurant and an auditorium. Today the complete building is used as a bookstore.


Name: Kinokuniya Bookstore│Type: Commercial│Architect: Kunio Maekawa│Completed: 1964

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1942 – Maekawa House – Kunio Maekawa

Kunio Maekawa is one of the most influential Japanese modernist architects who studied in France to apprentice for Le Corbusier and later designed the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum during the 60s. His original house has been dismantled and relocated to the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum. Maekawa house was originally built in 1942 during the wartime regime. The interior was a very exquisite blending of Japanese construction and Western functional taste. Unbelievable that it was made during the wartime especially with the shortage of materials.


Name: Maekawa House│Type: residential│Architect: Kunio Maekawa│Completed: 1942

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