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See the Coolest New Buildings From Japanese Architects

To say that contemporary Japanese architecture is cool would be an understatement—it might just be the world’s coolest. The face of the country’s building designs is Tadao Ando, one of the world’s most sought after starchitects. A total of seven of its architects have won the Pritzker and its architects’ designs, both at home and abroad, remain some of the most cutting edge, creative, and beautiful globally. It’s no surprise, then, that Taschen’s sleek new survey, Contemporary Japanese Architecture, is our latest selection for Just Booked, our series on exciting new travel-related coffee table books.

Edited by Philip Jodidio, the extra large tome hops around Japan and around the globe, from France to the U.S. to China, to introduce readers to some of the more spectacular recent buildings from Japanese architects. There’s the Mount Fuji World Heritage Center by Sigeru Ban, with its mesmerizing wood lattice inverted cone that graces the book’s cover or the totally unexpected Mosaic Tile Museum from Terunobu Fujimori that looks like a giant earthwork with an almost giggle-inducing fringe of pine trees running along its edges.

Contemporary Japanese Architecture, edited by Philip Jodidio


The book opens with a history lesson on Japan’s architectural evolution, going from 200 years of isolation to dominance by Western architecture to breaking free from its influence in the 20th century. From work to work there’s an abundance of what one now associates with the Japanese aesthetic—solid concrete forms, light woods, and spaces free from business. While some of the works are impossibly stylish like Go Hasegawa’s lakeside villa that looks like a Bond villain lair, there are also those that stymie one’s effort to categorize, like Ryue Nishizawa’s alien-spaceship-crash-site Teshima Art Museum. And for pure fun, don’t miss Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP’s Ribbon Chapel.

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