Kazuo Shinohara: Traversing the House and the City
Seng Kuan (ed.)
Harvard Unoversity Graduate School of Design & Lars Müller Publishers, 2021
One of the greatest and most influential architects of Japan’s postwar generation, Kazuo Shinohara (1925–2006) has remained virtually unknown outside the small community of devoted followers. As one of the leaders of architectural movement Metabolism, Shinohara achieved cult-figure stature with sublimely beautiful, purist houses that break away from Japan’s postwar suburban architecture.
Perhaps the most iconic of Shinohara’s works, House of White (1964–66) rearranges a familiar design palette—a square plan, a pointed roof, white walls, and a symbolic heart pillar—to give the almost oceanic spaciousness through abstraction. The underlying formalism in Shinohara’s architecture—its basic explorations of geometry and color—lend his work a poetic quality that fuses simplicity and surprise, the ordered and the unexpected.
This volume brings together new scholarship from the foremost specialists on Shinohara and Japan’s modern architecture. New perspectives and historical frameworks range from the development of the small house as a building type in postwar Japan to Shinohara’s engagement with French critical theory. Hitherto unpublished archival drawings and personal travel photographs by Shinohara complement the essays.