I would like to believe that contemporary Japanese architecture's overwhelming absence of hand-crafted eccentricities or rustic-ism is purely a temporary economic condition, but I'm kind of doubting it, which in my opinion is kind of troubling. Contemporary architecture is increasingly becoming a form of anti-materialist asceticism, but in a cheaply shallow way that does little more than mimic traditional Japanese architecture's lack of stuff, while neglecting the spatial purity that underlies its use. I don't think any other country is as homogeneous in its support of non-individualized contemporary architecture, despite the fact that they have the most skilled architects in the world by a considerable margin. Even in other countries with high building costs, the architecture still generally shows an aspiration for individual identity and cultural continuity that is largely missing in Japan. There are almost no figures I'm aware of that have made any traction trying to resist the homogeneity of white sheet-rocked interiors with shitty aluminum window frames in the way that an architect like Wang Shu has in China, despite the similar conditions both countries face in the rapid loss of traditional architecture. If they're lucky, they can afford to use some wood, but that's where it stops. It's almost like an overzealous approach to using architecture to convey a self-inflicted modesty towards their peers. Obviously with the talent they have to design and the wealth of the country there will be some great minimalist designs which I show here a lot, but that's because they use space and emptiness to promote a spiritual quality to the setting. In most of these shitty prefab homes you see, it's like they lock themselves in their homes with a dinky potted plant and cheap prefab table from Ikea and call it a day. I'd think there would be a few outspoken contemporary Japanese architects that were trying to instill some forms of ornament or rusticity into their designs to create individualization, but there simply aren't. I hardly ever see a grotesque, ostentatious Japanese interior ala Labelking, which can only really be possible if people largely resist that on a philosophical level, which isn't necessary. Even in the lamely homogeneous U.S., we've fortunately had the few proud eccentrics that start nailing shit to their home just to assure themselves a distinctive identity, but the lack of similar projects in Japan gives me the impression that defeatist attitudes kind of rule of there. God love em, but I think they need some ambition.
Jesus, grow some fucking balls.
A far more heroic, yet rare effort:Edited by StephenHero - 12/30/13 at 2:07am