Architecture Monday

One of the joys of visiting new places is all the interesting and nice buildings you run in to just wandering around.  They weren’t on the itinerary, and you didn’t see them in a magazine, but there they are, good, solid, everyday, wonderful architecture.  My Japan trip was no exception.  Here are a few (where I remembered to take pictures) of the buildings that caught my eye and design sense.

I like the muscularity of this building, using rusted steel and the prominent shutters to strongly frame its all glass-face.  Likewise, the big block look of the green annex is a beefy buttress that gives the impression it’ll be there for a long time.

A bit hard to see in the photo, but there’s what appears to be an old brick building that’s been encapsulated within this glass box.  I’m choosing to believe it’s an actual old building, for it tickles my adaptive reuse desires…  Either way, though, I always love exposed rough brick within a building, while the glass box itself could be much more elegantly and subtly detailed, the contrast between the heavily textured brick and the smooth box that surrounds it is nice.

This is one way to make a splash with your facade!  I don’t know if the wood supports the building – I hope so, for if it was just a surface treatment that would be much less exciting – but this is still fun and the little roof garden sells it.

The woodwork is what caught my eye of what I figure is a house.  You’ve got this thick regularity of the wood “logs” (kind of like long pieces of LEGO), the interlocking corners of traditional wood joinery, and by removing sections of the wood logs you have this regular interweaving of window and wall.  Nicely done.

A church hiding out behind a few other buildings.  Straightforward and evocative.

This daycare is wonderful on many levels, and that is a pun intended, for it’s got both a rooftop play area as well as a sheltered play area under the building at the ground plane.  With space at such a premium in many Japanese cities, these kind of gardens in the sky (or sheltered by the building) are quite necessary.  A nice, well-put together design, done on a modest budget and using the playfulness of the multi-windows coupled with a nice sense of proportion to create a good looking building that meets the needs of the kids within.

A multi-use building, two levels of office and retail topped by two levels of residential.  I like the mix of elements;  though the basic footprint is the same, the squaring off of the apartments at the corner lets you know there’s something different going on there, and I also like how the commercial levels are bookended by the solid wood siding punctuated by the tall, vertical windows.  What may not be obvious in the photo is that the broad middle band is actually foldable wood shutters, creating a little play of depth and shadow between them and the windows beyond.

A playful pavilion of sorts near the main train station in Osaka.  The combo of curves and the straight beams forming a parabaloid makes for a sculptural combination.

A fire station with a simple move of a screen wall formed by vertical bars and with planting on the lower level that matches the height of the doorway to the fire hall.  Just works.

Lastly, one kinda crazyinteresting building.  It’s a tower, with a funky shaped cutout.  But inside that cutout?  That’s a climbing wall.  On a rail.  So it can rise.  Presumably while you climb it.  That I’d want to see in action…

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