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A cup of tea with... Kurosawa Kawara-ten

Ritratto dell'architetto Takahiro Ushijima
©Kozo Kaneda

Today we have the pleasure of having architect Kurosawa Kawara-ten with us. His work focuses on issues dear to us such as sustainability and building restoration, both due - in addition to an environmental need that must be taken into account - also to the factors that unite us to Japan as a country system, namely the aging of the population and the move to big cities due to the change in the economy (we also talked about it in our previous post: Finding a house in Japan? Easy: here they give them to you!).

His treatise Kogaidanchi of To-morrow is very interesting in which he describes in an accurate and detailed way the current situation of the emptying of suburban homes in Japan, and their possible future, listing the positive and negative aspects of living far from the big cities, without neglecting nothing to chance. But in addition to this, he proposes concrete solutions that can be taken as a starting point for many similar situations in our country.


Let's start with the first question to break the ice: How do you get your tea?

I obviously like green tea. If you get the chance to visit me in my office, I will serve you some good Japanese green tea or even some matcha tea.

To this day, what do you think is your most significant and representative work of your design approach? Is there a project that you consider emblematic to tell who are you?

Surely Deguchi shoten and also House for Y. In reality I don't feel I have such an easily identifiable approach in terms of design but above all in form.

The shape and design, in addition to the use of materials, derive from how each individual project is structured. For example Deguchi Shoten was a project that needed strict cost control, as well as maintaining the local cultural context. We therefore used very cheap materials, such as veneer and galvanized corrugated sheets, to respect the atmosphere of the fishing village.

While for House for Y there was a need to create areas that would give value to the sharing of spaces. So the rooms are not directly connected to each other, but all family members can feel close to each other wherever they are in the house.

We would like to make people's lives better through architectural design: I think that architecture as an end in itself has no power in this regard. We want to design homes that can help people be who they are, as they have to represent their thoughts, attitudes or desires.

K-House In Tsujido-Higashi
© Ryosuke Sato

What do you think is a decisive project (of others) for your professional career? Who do you consider your teacher or an important reference for your work?

Alvar Aalto ... Yes, I would say Alvar Aalto. When I visited Finland I was a university student and it was around that time that I decided to become an architect. I felt that there was an air of design in the country and Alvar Aalto was at the center of that project. I recognized how the architect was able to change and characterize the whole of Finland.

What will be the direction for the future of Japanese home architecture? Climate change, the aging of the population, the evolution of our daily habits due to the pandemic, which changes can affect the living spaces of tomorrow and how?

We are facing a serious housing problem. Our population in Japan is shrinking: there are over 8 million empty houses. Both environmentally and economically we shouldn't throw away those houses lightly. It is necessary to think about the conversion of those houses.

At the same time, Japanese houses - built by specialized companies - do not present any differences between them, they do not adapt to the cultural context: they are the same regardless of where they are inserted. Even in Japan, houses with fake European facades are still being built!

The pandemic has temporarily changed our way of life. I think that after the vaccine arrives, our lifestyle will return to normal. Although people will have to admit that the urban lifestyle was a little crazy and maybe they will step back trying to get back into the right relationship with life, spending more time with family, to find that that kind of life, in the end. , it's not bad at all.


Kurosawa Kawara-ten 

1982 (Chiba, Japan)

2006 Graduated Course of Psychology Rikkyo University

2010 Graduated Course of Architecture Kyoto Zokei University

2010 Started kurosawa kawara-ten

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