Sou Fujimoto rethinks the rented apartment

Fancy sharing a TV with everyone in your block? Take a look at Sou’s radical ideas at Tokyo's House Vision show
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Rent Space Tower by Sou Fujimoto. Image courtesy of house-vision.jp
Rent Space Tower by Sou Fujimoto. Image courtesy of house-vision.jp

Instead of having a kitchen, why don’t you just install a sink and a fridge beside your sofa? Perhaps the downstairs of your house should be flood-proof? Could you live without a TV in your home, if you had a bigger bedroom and a massive shared, communal cinema in your block? Tokyo’s House Vision exhibition aims to address these questions and others and maybe even answer some successfully. 

The show and architectural symposium, which was first held in 2011 and opens again next month in Tokyo, is partly the work of designer, Phaidon author, and Muji creative director Kenya Hara. As Hara explains in this accompanying video, the event seeks to overcome Japan’s myriad of residential problems – from a falling population, to a growing number of single-occupancy homes – by entirely rethinking both the country’s houses and the consumer goods that go in them.

 

Rent Space Tower by Sou Fujimoto. Image courtesy of house-vision.jp
Rent Space Tower by Sou Fujimoto. Image courtesy of house-vision.jp

The 2016 show has been organized under the title Co-Individual, and examines how, while singleton’s homes account for nearly one third of Japan’s housing stock, digital sharing devices enable us to pool our resources in ways which were once unimaginable.

The architect Sou Fujimoto’s House Vision plan, developed in conjunction with the Daito Trust Construction Company, tries to retool the rented housing sector. Entitled the Rent Space Tower, Fujimoto worked to maximise the kind of private rooms most of us want in our own apartment – such as a bedroom and a bathroom – by stripping out areas which might be best served by communal spaces. The gardens and even the living-room space are shared, with a theatre space instead of hundreds of little rooms with sofas and TVs.

 

The Life Core House by Shigeru Ban. Image courtesy of house-vision.jp
The Life Core House by Shigeru Ban. Image courtesy of house-vision.jp

Fujimoto’s Tower sits alongside other innovative submissions from Shigeru Ban, whose Life Core house hives off all essential functions, including all plumbing, into the upper floor; Kengo Kuma, whose Grand Third Living designs, produced in conjunction with Toyota, consists of a series of carbon-fibre tents which can be packed away into a family car; and Atelier Bow-Wow’s collaboration with Muji, whose Tanada Office house attempts to meet the needs of the agricultural labourer and the home office.

We’re unlikely to see all of these dwellings popping up on the residential streets – or rice fields - of Japan soon, though the creative thinking that has gone into this year’s House Vision project suggest the country is better suited to dealing with its housing problems than many other nations.

 

Grand Third Living by Kengo Kuma. Image courtesy of house-vision.jp
Grand Third Living by Kengo Kuma. Image courtesy of house-vision.jp

For more on this wild domestic environment get our book Jutaku, which is dedicated to Japanese housing; for more on Sou Fujimoto take a look at this monograph; and for more on Japanese design get a copy of Wa, which includes a great foreword by Kenya Hara.


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