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A cup of tea with... Ushijima Architects

Ritratto dell'architetto Takahiro Ushijima
© Takahiro Ushijima

We meet the architect Takahiro Ushijima, born in 1985, who has opened his studio Ushijima Architects since 2016.

His architectural structures, since his first work K-House In Tsujido-Higashi, are influenced by the great Japanese architectural theorist of the twentieth century Kazuo Shinohara (1925-2006), whom we adore.

The master, a leading exponent of the architecture of the 70s and 80s, proved to be very influential for the following generations. After an initial approach based on simple compositions, his thought gradually turned - also through the use of reinforced concrete - towards internal environments that geometrically and volumetrically condition the design of the external spaces (see Tanikawa House and House in Uehara).

In Takahiro Ushijima's K-House project, the visible structural elements also act as separating elements between the various functions of the house, as well as a real internal landscape, given the closure to the outside of the house. And even in the most recent projects, the same influence can be seen, certainly reinterpreted by the architect in a contemporary key, both in terms of the internal / external connection and the usability of the spaces, which adapt to a very current lifestyle.


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

In the morning I always start with a cup of tea as I plan my chores for the day! It is a very important habit.

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?

My most significant and representative work is undoubtedly K-House in Tsujido-Higashi, as it was my first project for a single-family house. In this house I tried to metaphorically represent the surrounding environment and the family that would have lived there.

K-House In Tsujido-Higashi
foto1_ © Tomooki Kengaku

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?

I started my office in 2016, most of my works are still in progress (photo2), so at the moment I can't yet say if there was a project that was decisive for me. I was certainly influenced by Kazuo Shinohara and Kazunari Sakamoto in the first place: it is impossible to make references to the Japanese house without mentioning them.

House In Itakura
foto2_ © Ushijima Architecs

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?

For more than ten years, many young Japanese architects have paid attention to the sense of community: despite the various possibilities of meeting online, the pandemic has opened our eyes to the importance of community, revealing the importance of physically meeting to talk to each other. and share everyday life. Obviously, thanks to technology, houses will become more and more intelligent and automated, however I believe that Japanese architects will continue to build more concrete and traditional houses.


Ushijima Architects

1985 (Ibaraki, Japan)

2007 B. Arch, Tokyo University of Science

2009 M. Arch, Chiba University

2016 Established Ushijima Architects


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