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The Japanese House

Architecture and Life After 1945

A photo of The Japanese House, Architecture and Life after 1945, Installation at Barbican Centre.

The first major UK exhibition to focus on Japanese domestic architecture from the end of the Second World War to now, a period which produced some of the most ground-breaking examples of modern design

Our homes and personalities are intrinsically linked but nowhere more so than in Japanese architecture, where the needs of a building’s residents inform its very construction.

In The Japanese House, visitors could experience a day in the Tokyo home of the enigmatic urban hermit, Yasuo Moriyama, designed by Ryue Nishizawa (SANAA), weaving in and out of the house’s ten individual, fully-furnished rooms and maze-like gardens. Rabbit chairs, sliding libraries and an ‘outdoor’ cinema were just some of the details that made up Moriyama’s unusual domestic environment as day turned to night creating a full sensory experience. Next door, the fantastical and lovingly crafted Japanese teahouse and garden designed by Terunobu Fujimori allowing visitors to experience his unique architectural interpretations of Japan’s teahouse traditions.

Tagged with: Art Gallery Archive

The Japanese House: Architecture and Life after 1945 was curated by Florence Ostende (Barbican Centre, London), in collaboration with Pippo Ciorra (MAXXI, National Museum of the 21st Century Arts, Rome). The Chief Advisor is Yoshiharu Tsukamoto (Atelier Bow-Wow/Tokyo Institute of Technology). The Academic Advisor isHiroyasu Fujioka (Professor Emeritus, Tokyo Institute of Technology). The exhibition designer was Lucy Styles. The Fujimori tea-house was designed by Terunobu Fujimori in collaboration with architect Takeshi Hayatsu and built by students from Kingston University.

The exhibition was co-organised by the Japan Foundation and the Barbican Centre and co-produced by the Japan Foundation, the Barbican Centre, MAXXI National Museum of the 21st Century Arts, Rome and the Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo. The project was initially conceived in Tokyo by Kenjiro Hosaka (MOMAT) and Yoshiharu Tsukamoto.


Takefumi Aida, Tadao Ando, Atelier Bow-Wow, Takamitsu Azuma, dot architects, Hiromi Fujii, Terunobu Fujimori, Sou Fujimoto, Itsuko Hasegawa, Go Hasegawa, Kiyoshi Ikebe, Ikimono Architects, Kumiko Inui, Junya Ishigami, Osamu Ishiyama, Toyo Ito, Yuusuke Karasawa, Kiyonori Kikutake, Chie Konno, Kisho Kurokawa, Kunio Maekawa, Makoto Masuzawa, Katsuhiro Miyamoto, Kiko Mozuna, Kazuhiko Namba, Hideyuki Nakayama, Ryue Nishizawa (SANAA), Katsuhiko Ohno, Keisuke Oka, onishimaki + hyakudayuki, Antonin Raymond, Junzo Sakakura, Kazunari Sakamoto, Kazuyo Sejima (SANAA), Kiyoshi Seike, Kazuo Shinohara, Seiichi Shirai, Kenzo Tange, Tezuka Architects, Riken Yamamoto, Kazumasa Yamashita, Junzo Yoshimura, Takamasa Yoshizaka.


‘A remarkable ambition by the Barbican that pays off in spades‘
The Times
‘This superb show doesn’t just tell the fascinating story of Japanese homes since the Second World War - it is an object lesson in how to exhibit architecture.‘
Evening Standard
‘This exhibition is ephemeral‘
‘A brilliant, surprising, tactile exhibition that transforms the Barbican’s unusual gallery space into an organic tangle of bathtubs and ladders and orange trees‘
City AM
‘Exhibitions on architecture are notoriously hard to pull off but this succeeds triumphantly.‘
The Spectator


With thanks

The Japan Foundation logo - a purple butterfly
Japan Centre logo
Shiseido logo
Kajima logo
Natrium Capital logo
Logo for Elle Decoration

Additional support from Japan Airlines, Sasakawa Foundation and Daiwa.